June 19, 2017
Working in conjunction with the International Refugee Assistance Program, Weil and a team of Yale Law School students secured a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) for an Afghan national who had assisted U.S. military forces as an interpreter and intelligence asset during combat operations. Our client was forced to flee Afghanistan as a result of a Taliban threat to his life that was directly linked to his assistance to the U.S. military. After a dangerous overland journey to Europe, he sought asylum in Denmark. Danish immigration authorities denied his requests and appeals, however, and threatened deportation back to Afghanistan.
Supervised by partner Annemargaret Connolly and counsel Matthew Morton, Litigation associate Stephen Bosco and the YLS team assisted our client with every step of the SIV process, including contacting and interviewing service members who had served with him, preparing all required applications and forms (including supporting affidavits and documentary evidence), securing waivers for his missing passport and other documents, and communicating directly with the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen to facilitate expedited processing of our client’s case. In addition, when a State Department interpretation of an amendment to the SIV statute jeopardized our client’s SIV eligibility in the middle of the process (after he had been provisionally approved), Weil assisted broader, and ultimately successful, efforts to change the interpretation by coordinating an interview with a journalist who highlighted our client’s plight in a subsequent opinion piece.
Throughout the more than two-year process, Weil worked closely with our client’s Danish counsel to support her efforts to stave off deportation. As a result, the Danish police agreed to stay enforcement of an existing deportation order until the U.S. SIV process was complete, and to issue a “laissez passer” to replace our client’s missing passport. Our client recently arrived in Denver, where he is living with an Afghan friend and looking forward to building a new life.