Advising Immigrants and Asylees

When the US and its allies withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, Latham developed a holistic, coordinated response to the ensuing crisis by leveraging its immigration practice and building on the firm’s deep relationships with legal services partner organizations, including Human Rights First, Casa Cornelia Law Center, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project, and Catholic Charities USA.

Latham’s response continued during the summer of 2023, when we coordinated a firmwide effort to help evacuated Afghan nationals in the US complete and submit their re-parole applications. After the Taliban gained control and thousands of Afghans were evacuated, the US government gave many Afghans temporary permission to live and work in the US for two years. That two-year period began expiring over the summer, so these clients needed assistance to file for a renewal (known as “re-parole”) to remain legally in the US. Summer associates and lawyers across nearly all US offices participated in legal clinics with Human Rights First to help these clients pursue their cases in the US.

We also developed a new partnership in 2023 with Mina’s List, an organization that seeks to advance women's political leadership and civic engagement globally. Through this partnership, Latham is reviewing and assessing applications for female former members of Afghanistan’s parliament, government employees, and activists who hope to resettle in the US through the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). To date, our lawyers have reviewed the cases of more than 100 women.

"Our immigration practice comprises a significant portion of our pro bono efforts, a testament to Latham’s deep-rooted commitment to supporting those fleeing persecution and instability around the globe. From advising Afghans resettling in the US to helping unaccompanied minors in Italy, our lawyers handle immigration and asylum matters with sensitivity, dedication, and care."

Wendy Fu, Pro Bono Managing Attorney
Besides helping victims of the Afghan crisis, Latham advises asylum seekers fleeing persecution and violence in other parts of the world. For many years, we have collaborated with Justice Centre Hong Kong (JCHK), a nonprofit and human rights organization working to protect the rights of forced migrants, refugees, and survivors of torture, human trafficking, and forced labor. Our Asia and Middle East offices assist JCHK on researching refugee labor and work rights, refugee family reunification policies, and climate-induced displacement in the Asia Pacific region, among other matters.

Throughout 2023, a team in Milan was engaged with the KIND Italy Project, in cooperation with KIND (Kids In Need of Defense) and the Italian Refugee Council. This project provides legal assistance and information to unaccompanied and separated children and their guardians. Italy hosts more than 21,000 unaccompanied children from around the world. Our lawyers conducted research for the Italian Refugee Council on the rights of these children so they can remain documented in Italy or reunite with their families in other EU countries. 

In Germany, Latham provided guidance to GENETY – Dein Bildungslotse e.V. as it scaled its efforts to help Ukrainian families resettle there. Our lawyers advised the Hamburg-based nonprofit on labor, rental, and privacy law issues. In Paris, colleagues are collaborating with L’Alliance des Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme (AADH) to prepare asylum applications for individuals (especially minors) seeking refuge in France. This work includes collecting evidence of state-based persecution, preparing asylum seekers for their asylum interviews, and accompanying clients to their asylum interviews. In Brussels, our lawyers began staffing a Legal Helpdesk for asylum seekers, which was created in response to the ongoing refugee reception crisis in Belgium. Helpdesk lawyers provide legal information and assistance to hundreds of asylum seekers who need access to appropriate accommodation, food, and medical care.