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How to Get Involved

The Asylum Support Clinic is a volunteer-based project. Thanks to the nearly 100 volunteers who have supported ASC during its first year,  ASC has been able to help over 160 asylum seekers start on a path to a better life!

Volunteers assist immigrants as they pursue their asylum claims pro se. Volunteers do not represent asylum seekers in court, but advise them in individual clinic consultations, with attorney oversight, so they are better equipped to represent themselves. ASC’s primary support is assisting immigrants to prepare and file I-589 asylum applications,
and once they are eligible (150 days after applying for asylum), to apply for work authorization.​​

 

Cycle 9 will run on 7 consecutive Tuesday evenings from September 10 to October 22. Sign up here to Get Involved!

 

Questions about volunteering? Please email asylum.s.clinic@gmail.com and include your name, contact information and how you found out about ASC. We can’t wait to work together on behalf of asylum seekers!

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Our Clinic

ASC works in 7-week cycles. The clinic meets at Rutgers Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side three hours once a week (Tuesdays 6:00 to 9:00 pm) for seven consecutive weeks and then takes a brief pause between cycles.

Volunteer roles at ASC:

Document Drafter

A document drafter fills out the asylum application, based on the information provided by the asylum-seeker. The document drafter is paired with an interpreter (when needed) and one asylum-seeker and the three-person team works together throughout the seven-week clinic cycle.

Interpreter

An interpreter interprets the document drafter’s questions into the asylum seeker's primary language, and interprets the responses so that the asylum seeker knows what is being asked of them, and the document drafter can accurately fill out the application. The interpreter is paired with a document drafter and an asylum seeker and the three-person team works together throughout the seven-week clinic cycle.

Childcare Volunteer

For asylum-seekers bringing their children to clinic, childcare volunteers look after the children on another floor of the clinic. This arrangement relieves parents of having to share their stories of trauma and persecution in front of their kids.

Attorney

Under the guidance of the supervising attorney, the volunteer attorneys work with the individual teams throughout the clinic sessions to answer questions, provide guidance on filling out the application and review the final drafts.

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New Volunteers

New ASC volunteers are asked to attend two short Zoom workshops before the start of a new clinic cycle:

  • Overview of ASC + Legal Landscape of Asylum Claims

  • Trauma-Informed Approaches to Supporting Asylum-Seekers.

That way, new volunteers are equipped with crucial information and a solid foundation before beginning to volunteer. 

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