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Albany County, Albany Law School teaming up to provide legal services for Afghan refugees

Albany County lawmakers and Albany Law School officials.JPG
WAMC.org
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Ashley Hupfl
Albany County lawmakers and Albany Law School officials.JPG

A new partnership between Albany County and Albany Law School will provide free legal services to Afghan refugees relocated to the Capital Region who are seeking permanent citizenship.

County Legislature Chair Andrew Joyce joined school officials Thursday to announce a $50,000 grant to help pay for the legal services provided by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a non-profit, and by students in the Immigration Law Clinic at the Justice Center at Albany Law School.

The Democrat says the program will help 250 refugees being resettled in Albany and Watervliet after fleeing Afghanistan last year.

"I’m just so grateful - I can’t put into words - I’m able to continue my service here at home and be in a position now to extend our own brand of goodwill to the hundreds of Afghans who will now call Albany County home," he said.

USCRI staff attorney Sara Lowry says after more than 75,000 Afghans resettled in the U.S., the focus must shift to helping them get permanent citizenship before their temporary citizenship expires two years after arrival.

"We’re focused on food (and) shelter assistance and immigration services tends to be one of those things that is an afterthought, or not even a thought," she said.