Afghan Pro Bono Representation Project


We are delighted to tell you about an exciting Pro Bono opportunity with JFCS-East Bay!

If you are interested, have questions, or would like to learn more about this program, please fill out this BRIEF FORM.

With offices in Berkeley and Concord, CA, JFCS East Bay has resettled more than 600 Afghans in the Bay Area since last fall. Our Immigration Legal Services department currently has nearly 200 families in need of asylum representation. We are providing direct representation in as many cases as we can, but we cannot serve them all. We are building a pro bono referral network for affirmative asylum cases, and we would LOVE to collaborate with you!

Families evacuated from Afghanistan and paroled into the U.S. in 2021 need to apply for permanent status, or else they may be forced to return to Afghanistan. Your pro bono representation on an Afghan asylum application can literally save a family’s life. Fill out this brief form or read on to learn more.

This is an excellent, discreet pro bono project! The time commitment is reasonable: about 40-60 hours of preparation for most cases, with an opportunity to represent the family at their asylum interview. The immigration service is expediting these cases, and they will resolve within six months of filing. Many cases resolve within two months! You can control when you file the application and know that your commitment will wrap up shortly thereafter.


Here is what pro bono representation in an Afghan asylum case entails:

  • Meet with your client (we generally anticipate 2-3 meetings of about 2-3 hours each).
  • Take their sworn declaration.
  • Gather supporting evidence from your client (e.g. proof of prior threats from the Taliban, employment records, birth & marriage certificates, etc.); arrange for translation when needed.
  • Review Afghan country research to identify key reports most salient to your case (we provide access to databases of country reports specifically curated to support Afghan asylum cases).
  • Fill out the asylum application form (I-589).
  • Submit the application with your entrance of appearance as counsel on the case.
  • Prepare your client to answer the Asylum Officer’s questions.
  • Represent your client at their asylum interview in San Francisco.


Here is what we offer our pro bono partners:

  • Ample training. We will provide our pro bono attorneys with live, recorded, and written training materials covering all aspects of asylum eligibility for Afghan cases.
  • Expert mentorship. Our Director of Immigration Legal Services is a former Asylum Officer and adjunct professor of Asylum & Refugee Law at UC Berkeley School of Law. In addition, we have a team of expert immigration attorneys on-call to answer legal questions and provide any mentorship or guidance which you may need as you work up the asylum application.
  • Interpreters. To help bridge any cultural and linguistic (e.g., Dari, Farsi, Pashto) barriers, we have a pool of volunteer interpreters in order to support the application process.
  • Thoroughly screened cases with initial document packets. Our in-house legal team is conducting in-depth eligibility screenings and gathering relevant basic documents to begin asylum representation. Moreover, as the resettlement agency responsible for receiving our new Afghan neighbors, JFCS East Bay already has robust relationships with our clients. We know their specific needs and unique challenges.
  • Professional liability insurance. We can offer you coverage under our policy.
  • Case management support. Our refugee resettlement case managers can jump in to provide spot assistance with any extra-legal problems that might arise over the course of your representation. We can help with everything from health insurance and employment questions to basic needs like furniture, diapers, toys, and grocery delivery.
  • Public recognition of your formal partnership at this historic moment. We will tell the world you are our trusted partner, and sing your praises from the rooftops (as well as on social media platforms, websites, referrals sheets, etc.).
  • Whatever else you might need! We are open and eager to discuss any possible partnership with us. Tell us what it would take to make this work for you.


If you are interested, have questions, or would like to learn more about this program, please fill out this BRIEF FORM.

Further information