Oklahoma Bar Journal

OBF Funds Emergency Project at TU Law to Help Family in Afghanistan

By Renée DeMoss

In a 24-hour period starting Aug. 24, the U.S. and other western coalition forces evacuated 19,000 people out of Kabul, Afghanistan, on 90 military cargo aircraft flights, at the rate of one departure every 39 minutes. An additional 87,900 individuals had already been airlifted out since the end of July.

Even so, thousands more remained behind at the Karzai International Airport, hidden in houses and villages across Afghanistan, gathering their courage, hoping and waiting for their turn to escape potential violence and persecution in that country. Those individuals left behind included 19 members of the family of a former Afghan asylum client of the TU College of Law Immigrant Rights Project. A few days after the massive airlift, the former client contacted the clinic at TU, seeking assistance in getting those 19 loved ones safely out of the country.

The Immigrant Rights Project, an OBF Grantee Partner, turned to the OBF with an emergency funding request to assist the family in raising funds to help cover humanitarian parole fees for the family. The OBF funded $5,000 of the request to help cover the costs. The TU College of Law raised the additional $5,000 needed from individual donors.

Miriam H. Marton, director of clinical programs at the TU College of Law, provided a recent update on the request, stating, “It was so moving how the community came together. All of the petitions for relief for the 19 family members have been filed and are now pending at the USCIS. I want to pass along my, my students’, my colleagues’ and the family’s gratitude to the OBF.” Ms. Marton also requested thoughts and prayers for the continuing safety of this family as reports confirm a brutal Taliban response to the evacuations.

The OBF funds the TU College of Law Immigrant Rights Project annually through its IOLTA Grants process. The program is a one-semester, six-credit clinical education program in which law students represent non-citizens in immigration matters. Clients include persons seeking asylum in the United States as a result of persecution or fear of persecution in their home countries, as well as non-citizen victims of domestic violence and other crimes, unaccompanied non-citizen minors or other non-citizens subject to removal and immigration detention.

For more information about this program, visit https://law.utulsa.edu/legal-clinics/immigrant-rights-project.


Ms. DeMoss is the OBF executive director.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 92 Vol 10 (December 2021)