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KC refugee service providers, attorneys standby to help Afghans

Asylum Clinic KC
Posted at 9:48 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 23:48:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Della Lamb is one of the first stops for refugees who come to Kansas City. But it's too early to tell if any of those trying to leave the mayhem in Afghanistan will end up walking through their doors.

"We're still trying to get our hands around how many are being displaced," said Ryan Hudnall, executive director of Della Lamb.

Hudnall considers the images out of Afghanistan heartbreaking.

Within the last two months, his organization has helped two families resettle from the country that's now enveloped in chaos.

"We’ll welcome them, will help them identify housing and employment and begin a path towards self-sufficiency," Hudnall said.

Prior to the developments in Afghanistan, Della Lamb was already bracing for a wave of refugees.

Over the last decade, following a steady cap on the number of refugees allowed in the United States, the numbersignificantly dropped during the previous presidential administration to 18,000 in 2020.

President Biden's goal is to allow up to 125,000 refugees in the upcoming fiscal year.

Samuel Wele sought asylum in the U.S. from the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Maybe I may die. I may be like a bad boy. I don't even know who I would be if I was was still there," Wele told KSHB 41 News.

He spent seven months in the Villages — a refugee resettlement center in Topeka. It's also where he met immigration attorney Clare Murphy Shaw.

"I see clients after they've usually graduated from eligibility or those services aren’t sufficient," Murphy Shaw said.

In 2017, Murphy Shaw began Asylum Clinic KC in North Kansas City to help asylum seekers navigate the complex immigration system.

Murphy Shaw said although many people are calling lawyers about the crisis in Afghanistan, there are few answers.

"I hope what's going to happen is that some of that red tape gets cut and some of those families are able to get their family members to safety," Murphy Shaw said.

U.S. officials say they are also preparing to take more than 20,000 Afghans who are candidates for special immigrant visas to U.S. bases. They'll be the first ones admitted before others.