When a refugee from the Horn of African region arrives in the United States, he or she is often fleeing war, violence, unrest, and persecution. For centuries, America has been a safe place for those in need. However, the anticipated safety of a place comes with the uncertainty of a new country and a new culture. The challenges and the paperwork in asylum application procedures can be overwhelming. And the number of refugees from the region is increasing. They need help and support to present their asylum applications and manage the whole process.
This is the purpose of HACI’s United Seeking Asylum (USA) Program. Because we are fellow natives of the region and many of us have confronted the asylum challenge ourselves, HACI’s staff and volunteers can provide a deep level of support in coordination with HACI pro bono asylum attorneys, who, if not from the region, have experience with cases from the region, and work within the larger support framework of HACI.
The teamwork and integration of staff and volunteers at HACI builds trust and effective cooperation between lawyers and asylum clients, which is vital for ensuring success. That kind of mutual support and relationship is what we mean by “United Seeking Asylum.” The staff and volunteers of HACI bring a rich set of linguistic, cultural, communal and personal assets to enable HACI’s attorneys and clients establish and maintain the communication and personal comfort level that allows the full context of underlying societal and personal factors. (Asylum seekers often do not understand what facts can make a difference to their case, including some that are embarrassing or seem irrelevant.) Pro bono asylum attorneys and the staff at HACI have experienced the benefits of having such a close, culturally informed connection with clients working together for years. HACI is expanding on their successful model by enlarging the team with more qualified staff and volunteers.
HACI has organized and officially launched our asylum service mid-December 2017. Accordingly, HACI is ready to provide the needed asylum services to eligible clients in an effective and efficient manner. HACI’s services for asylum seekers uses its integrated approach whereby clients will also access assistance with housing, employment, medical and psychological attention, interpretation and/or translation, as well as additional services from HACI and our partners.
The attorney service involves: determining eligibility; editing, reviewing and organizing documents; preparing the clients; and representing them both at asylum office and at immigration courts. At this initial stage, the USA service is provided on a first-come first-served basis with highly reduced service charges; clients will be required to coordinate their own interpreters for the asylum interviews if needed.
HACI USA is dedicated to assisting you and your families through its program as you navigate through the complicated asylum process.
· Screening applicants for eligibility
· Accessing HACI lawyers who provide orientation about the asylum application process
· Concluding representation agreement and supporting in case development
· Compiling and translating affidavits and supportive documents
· Providing interpretation services during the case preparation and during asylum interviews
· Filing asylum application
· Filing application for work authorization and case follow-up