The spirit of welcome – Blog: Think immigration


AILA invited members to share stories of welcome with us, as the last two years have brought opportunities to help people. evacuate Afghanistan, fleeing Ukraine and receiving parole from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti. AILA members and their communities have opened their arms and hearts to people who come to the United States through various means. Here are some of their stories:

“I sponsored a Ukrainian woman and her two children. She’s a friend of a friend, and we emailed and video chatted to make sure our expectations were aligned before filing I-134. In the year since she arrived, she has resumed her career and built a network here. Our children attend the same school and it has been a godsend for both of us to have an extra parent in the neighborhood who can help us pick them up and drop them off. As their hometown increasingly comes under Russian bombing, we are all grateful for the parole program that allowed them to quickly find refuge in the United States.” – Member of AILA, New York, NY.

“I provided I-134 to a family coming here under U4U and they arrived in February 2023: mother, father, two daughters aged 10 and 3. I formed a “Welcoming Circle” with the help of HIAS and the aegis of our synagogue (which contacted me with this idea), even though not all members of our committee are members of the synagogue . We raised money, found housing, helped with the family transition, enrolled the girl in school, helped her apply for benefits, and much more.

It’s a big commitment, and sometimes very difficult… but they are a big family and are doing well under the circumstances. We are transitioning to less financial aid and it could be a challenge for them to stay in this area (central New Jersey). Certainly being an immigration lawyer has helped me tremendously with I-134, I-765, explaining the (limited) possibilities for the future, etc., but it’s very definitely a group effort. – Member of AILA, New Jersey.

“I was able to sponsor my husband’s cousin and my mother-in-law. My husband has improved his character, his motivation and everything since his mother arrived. – Member of AILA, Tampa, FL.

“In May 2022, leaders of inTulsa Visa Network – a nonprofit talent matching and business engagement organization in Tulsa – and the George Kaiser Family Foundation began to wonder how they could leverage leveraged community resources to support those affected by the current humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. They wanted to help. As of August 2023, the initiative has accepted and relocated 12 members, with 28 in total including spouses and children.

Building on the success of the program, the inTulsa Visa Network recently expanded its offering to parolees from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, while supporting the relocation of more traditional employment-based foreign talent in Tulsa (e.g., H-1B). , O-1, TN). – Member of AILA, Tulsa, OK.

“It’s been two years since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. As an Afghan-American lawyer who practiced immigration law and was active in numerous humanitarian and women’s rights programs, this event changed my life. During the first month of the evacuation, I felt like I was working in a crisis center. I have received hundreds of distress calls and messages from Afghans across the country, asking for help. I had extended family members who lived and worked in Kabul and knew many of the women leaders personally, whom I had interviewed as a journalist or met at conferences or events…” – Member of AILA, Washington, DC. READ Mariam’s full blog post on all the ways she helped welcome Afghan evacuees to the United States

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