UI Center for Human Rights, Legal Clinics helps offer immigration legal services to Afghan immigrants
Resources offered through the collaboration will be direct representation, pro se clinics, and a Virtual Help Desk.
Soon after an influx of Afghan evacuees arrived in the US in August 2021the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights started working with the UI College of Law Legal Clinic to assist in legal service provision.
the programs, ALL Iowa Afghan Legal League of Iowa, aims to address gaps in Iowa infrastructure surrounding immigration legal access. The program brings experts from the UI, Drake University’s Legal Clinics, and the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice.
In August 2021, approximately 76,000 Afghans were airlifted from Afghanistan following the governmental takeover by the Taliban. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services allocated $1.1 million over two years to the collaboration in response to more than 900 Afghans resettling in Iowa by April 2022.
UI Center for Human Rights Assistant Director Amy Weismann said she helps facilitate communication between the groups and create a statewide network for immigration services.
“There are a lot of people in the state who are already providing legal services and other kinds of services, other kinds of support to Afghans who come to Iowa,” Weismann said. “We’re hoping that through this arrangement, we can help to elevate and expand those services.”
The UI is offering refugees legal training and is representing some Afghans in their immigration cases.
Weismann said she hopes UI community members will get involved, especially those with proficiency in Dari and Pashto, languages spoken by Afghans.
“We’re working with law students here at the University of Iowa, but also at Drake, to develop what we’re calling a refugee legal core to help train