Shoulder By Shoulder (Podcast) – General Immigration

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In This Podcast Episode

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government
shortly after the United States announced it would withdraw its
troops from Afghanistan. In the weeks that followed, the US
government evacuated over 120,000 US citizens and Afghan allies
from Afghanistan, and the United States welcomed 76,000 Afghans as
refugees, most as humanitarian parolees. While many Afghans are now
safe in the United States, thousands more are waiting for the
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency (USCIS)
to review their applications for humanitarian parole.

In this episode, co-host and Partner John Walsh is joined by Senior Associate Alexandra Stanley to hear from Mr. Ahmed, an
Afghan refugee who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover. Mr.
Ahmed worked as a translator for the US military in Afghanistan
beginning in 2011, and as a result, his life was put in immediate
danger when the Taliban took over the country in 2021. Alexandra
Stanley is a senior associate who focuses her practice on complex
securities enforcement matters and investigations and has dedicated
her pro bono practice to assisting Afghan refugees applying for
humanitarian parole.

Today, Mr. Ahmed shares the story of his flight from Afghanistan
and his experience living through the Taliban takeover. Walsh and
Stanley speak with Mr. Ahmed about his heroic endeavors to help 109
refugees escape Afghanistan, his work with WilmerHale to help other
Afghans apply for humanitarian parole, and the work that is still
to be done.

As of June 2, 2022, USCIS has only approved 297 humanitarian
parole applications, while over 90% of reviewed applications have
been denied. These applications can take more than a year to be
reviewed, leaving families to continue hiding from the Taliban in
Afghanistan or in neighboring countries, hoping the United States
will grant them a safe place to restart their lives. Mr. Ahmed
reminds listeners of the thousands of other refugees, many of whom
worked shoulder by shoulder with the US government, who remain in

WilmerHale is proud to work with a number of organizations
to help Afghan refugees apply for humanitarian parole. If you are
interested in learning more about the important work being done by
these organizations, we encourage you to visit their

New York Legal
Assistance Group (NYLAG)


Equality Center


U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Pro Bono
Afghan Legal Services (USCRI PALS)

Human Rights First

Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project

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