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UC Clermont students help Afghan refugees seeking asylum

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Andrew Higley/University of Cincinnati
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Barbara Rugen, UC Clermont College paralegal student, and recent graduate Elizabeth Schmitt are working to help Afghan asylum seekers to complete applications for humanitarian visas.

When the U.S. pulled its remaining military presence out of Afghanistan in August 2021, it left many Afghans desperately seeking asylum. Many who worked as contractors for the U.S. were especially vulnerable to attacks by the Taliban.

“These people meet the standards for asylum in the U.S., but they’re stranded,” Barbara Rugen a UC Clermont College paralegal student said in a news release. “What do they do?”

In November a team of UC Clermont College students, paralegals and lawyers came together to help. They processed 100 applications for humanitarian visas. The need remains great with more asylum seekers waiting and the Department of Homeland Security backlogged with applications.

“It’s not getting better for those waiting; it’s getting worse,” said Rugen. “And this is something we can do to help legitimate applicants who are entitled to apply for visas. I will probably come back to UC Clermont and do this again.”

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss their efforts are UC Clermont College Paralegal Student Barbara Rugen; and UC Clermont Paralegal Graduate and Musillo Ukenholt LLC Immigration Paralegal Elizabeth Schmitt.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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