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NJ Activists Afraid Taliban Threat Will Restrict Evacuations

Plus: Tax preparers charging immigrants to apply for Excluded Workers Fund, Queens family worried for relatives in Kabul

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Resettlement organizations throughout New Jersey are preparing for an influx of evacuees from Afghanistan. Those who helped the U.S. government were promised protection under the Special Immigrant Visa Program, but thousands of eligible Afghans who applied remain without visas. According to Eileen King English, an immigration attorney, in order to receive an SIV, applicants must obtain a letter of recommendation from the U.S. military and other documents before becoming eligible for an interview at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, which is currently closed. NJ Spotlight 

In other local immigration news…

Tax Preparers Charge Up to $600 to Send Applications for Excluded Workers Fund

📍 Documented Original
When Diana Manosalvas and her husband saw an advertisement for New York’s Excluded Workers Fund, they immediately sought help from a tax preparation office so they could apply. The tax preparer made them send him copies of sensitive documents over WhatsApp and said both of them must pay him $300 if they qualified for the aid. Advocates say this type of situation repeats itself year after year as immigrants gain rights. People who said they’d help undocumented immigrants extorted them when they were allowed to receive driver’s licenses in New York in 2019 and when applications opened for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program this year. Immigration advocates are worried that communities that are already financially struggling will pay hundreds of dollars to fill out applications that can be completed for free. Read more at Documented.

Queens Family Worried for Family in Kabul

Mohammad Karimi, a Fresh Meadows resident, has several family members who live in Kabul who are trying to find a way out of the country. The family in the U.S. tried to contact nonprofits, legislators and others for help, but they’ve had no luck. They said if their family members in Afghanistan aren’t evacuated, they will face retaliation from the Taliban. One of the family members worked for the U.S.-backed Afghan government. Since the government has fallen, he has been traveling around in fear that the Taliban will catch him. Meanwhile, Karimi has been struggling to focus on work, but has found comfort through the New York Afghan community. Queens Eagle

NYC Vigil for Jean Montrevil

Judson Memorial Church, the Judson Immigration Task Force and the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic are fighting to reunite Jean Montrevil — a leader of Families for Freedom, the New Sanctuary Coalition and Judson Memorial Church — with his family. The groups announced a vigil for Sunday, August 29 at 1 p.m. at the Judson Memorial Church to protest and pray for Montrevil’s safe return to Haiti. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) pardoned Montrevil, giving him a new path to regain a permanent U.S. resident status. Alina Das, professor of clinic law and co-director of NYU Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic, tweeted that “Jean opened our eyes to the impact of immigration detention & deportation on Black immigrants, and spoke out for all people — especially children like his own — affected by this horrible system.” Deanna Garcia for Documented.

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