At noon on Friday, October 8th, we tuned into a Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA) virtual “Hot Talk” regarding Afghan Immigration that was coordinated by Mr. Patrick Espinosa, President of the Ohio Hispanic Bar Association.
The panelists were Ms. Adriana Coppola, Supervising Immigration Attorney from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland; Mr. Patrick Mathay, also from Catholic Charities, who is Volunteer Coordinator at Migration and Refugee Services; Mr. Joe Cimperman, President of Global Cleveland; Ms. Pegah Zardoost, Inclusion and Pro Bono Programs Specialist at the CMBA; and, of course, Mr. Francis Fungsang, Immigration Attorney from Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC.
The approximately forty-five-minute discussion reviewed the entire situation facing those who recently escaped from Afghanistan (i.e. or are still attempting to flee) including the process of being legally allowed to re-settle in the United States as well as the actual resettlement process.
As such, Mr. Fungsang and Ms. Coppola explored the difficult process of obtaining “special immigrant visas” and “humanitarian parole” while Mr. Mathay explained resettlement procedures.
Then Mr. Cimperman discussed the economic and humanitarian benefits of encouraging foreign-born newcomers to re-settle in Cleveland/Northeast Ohio, an area that has always been welcoming to those who have immigrated to the United States.
Lastly, everyone talked about the need for volunteers to come forward to help whether it be offering legal services, teaching English, or simply supplying a car ride to an appointment.
Along these lines, it was suggested that Clevelanders contact their federal representatives about amending/adjusting current laws to make it easier for persecuted peoples to obtain permanent residence in the United States.