Working with Afghan Youth, Asylum, SIJS, and Funding for College

Webinar Details

This presentation was part of day 1 of the 5th Annual Symposium.

When Afghan youth arrived in our diocese in Kentucky, we were prepared to do some of the legal work we were used to, like applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). However, we were not as prepared for the many affirmative asylum interviews located six hours away with young people, nor were we prepared to accompany our clients on making the decision to pursue asylum claims that would trigger trauma responses rather than the comparatively less strenuous SIJS process. But a year in, the Afghan youth we are serving are starting to graduate from local high schools, and now we grapple with the question: how do we help them go to college without FAFSA eligibility? This was another obstacle we did not see coming. We are continuing to advocate for our clients and partnering with local colleges to find a way. We hope that our presentation will be resourceful and insightful for our peers nationwide working with Afghan youth.  

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Recorded Date

May 18, 2023


  • Susan Montalvo-Gesser, CC Owensboro 
  • Khaibar Shafaq, CC Owensboro

Webinar Materials