Humanitarian parole may be only option for stranded Afghans

Center for Refugee Services seeking legal advice for local Afghans

SAN ANTONIO – The long line of local Afghans outside the Center for Refugee Services in San Antonio were given disappointing news.

“We told the translator or the interpreters to explain to the families that the forms are not going to do any good anymore,” said Margaret Constantino, the center’s executive director.

The Afghans had been applying to the State Department with the help of U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro’s office to get their stranded loved ones out of Afghanistan.

Yet now with the last U.S. troops gone and the evacuation flights ended, Constantino said, “It looks like the only avenue that families can pursue now is to apply for humanitarian parole. That basically amounts to applying for asylum.”

The website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states the requests are “based on urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons to come to the U.S.”

Constantino said she’s asking for legal advice for those who are left wondering what to do now. She said she already has a list of people needing that expertise. Constantino said as far as she knows, there’s not much else she can do.

“All I can do is promise is that we will stay on top of it. We want to get correct information,” she said. “We want people to not lose hope, even though things are very, very dire. But we will still be here for them. We will try and reassure them as best we can.”

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.