This is a section of our The Asylum Process: Interdisciplinary Responses to Multifaceted Challenges full day training on August 16, 2023. In these two sessions, we delve into the challenges of service provision for asylum seekers, forced migrants, and survivors of torture coming to our centers. Both for those who are recently arrived and those caught in the asylum affirmative backlog.
Jonathan Ryan speaks to the challenges in providing services for recently arrived asylum seekers and the legal hurdles that may act as roadblocks to their progress. He discusses how, while there may not have been a lot of changes to immigration law in some time, it is subject to interpretation that can change how the law may be executed and enforced over the course of time and how those interpretations may affect clients. He provides an overview to help service providers with an understanding of documents, parole, Immigration Court, and work authorization and discusses some of the many other challenges newly arrived clients may face.
Walter Fendrich speaks to the psychosocial concerns in working with clients who may have been waiting for years after they’ve applied for asylum and may have heard nothing about their cases or have had their court dates changed multiple times. He provides an overview of social and clinical challenges that clients in the asylum backlog may face and what kinds of interventions may be helpful in working with these clients.
Questions responded to in chat, not during the training:
Question: What circumstances could a provider write about to try to expedite the Asylum application?
Answer from Walter Fendrich: It could be that a client is experiencing serious psychological or medical problems.
Comment: This is not a question, I just wanted to thank you Walter for your beautiful heartfelt perspective. It got to me personally as a survivor now on the other side. At moments felt like putting words to emotions and circumstances I have not been able to process and express myself, and I had plenty of privileges in my journey. From the heart thank you Walter for putting light to all the nuances of the survivors’ experience.
Response from Walter Fendrich: You are very welcome Andrik! Thank you for your kind words.
Question: Thank you so much for answering the parole/ROR question! A follow-up, most of my clients who have parole are only granted parole for 2 months – are they only eligible for services that parolees are eligible for until the parole expires? / Can they get their SSN during those 2 months?
Answer from Jonathan Ryan: I’d say “it depends.” If I see someone with a short parole, I would encourage them to get whatever they can (resettlement agency help, Social Security card, etc.) while cautioning them also that the assistance will be short-term, and that the Social Security card will be restricted so they cannot work without immigration authorization in the form of a valid Work Permit that they have in their hands. I think eligibility for services could vary, so I would make a warm referral to social services if possible, or caution the client that they may or may not get help.