Members of the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition have issued an urgent plea for help in getting refugees who have family in the Hartford area, from Afghanistan to Connecticut.
“It’s the whole family that is at risk,” Robert J. Fishman, executive director of CIRC, said.
Fishman said that while the identity of the Hartford-area family can’t be divulged for security reasons, they are naturalized U.S. citizens trying to bring 42 members of their extended family from Afghanistan over to the state. Many are small children, he said.
“They said they’ve got a number of family members that desperately need to get out,” Fishman said. Some of the 42 people are in danger from the Taliban due to their helping U.S. and Afghan-Allied forces, according to a Facebook page CIRC set up where people can make donations.
CIRC wants to raise at least $10,000 to pay the fees to file for humanitarian parole, which cost $575 per person. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website, a person can apply for humanitarian parole due to an emergency and “there is an urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit to allowing you to temporarily enter the United States.”
Legal assistance is being provided pro bono by Dana R. Bucin, a Hartford attorney who is chair of the immigration practice at the law firm Murtha Cullina. Bucin is also a member of the board at CIRC.
Any additional funds would be applied to specific needs of the family, Fishman said. The Facebook post says proceeds can go toward relocation fees.
While the Connecticut family could probably sponsor one or two of the refugees, sponsoring 42 is obviously not financially feasible, Fishman said. “I don’t know who could sponsor 42,” he said.
As of Wednesday, the fundraiser had raised almost half of the $10,000.
Fishman said CIRC is a statewide, nonprofit organization that has spent more than 25 years providing financial aid and advocating for government policy changes for immigrants and refugees.