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AsylumWorks Program Manager Status Approved

On May 13, 2024, Awel received a call he would never forget. After guiding countless clients through the intricate maze of the U.S. immigration system, his own immigration attorney reached out with a pivotal update–the long-awaited decision on his status finally arrived.

“Awel, I have incredible news. Your legal status has been approved.” 

Relief and joy washed over him. The long shadow of uncertainty lifted from his shoulders. 

As the Legal Navigation Program Manager at AsylumWorks, Awel helps clients understand their rights, access low-cost and pro-bono legal representation, and navigate the complex immigration legal system–all while going through the process himself. Four years after arriving from Ethiopia, Awel’s status approval marks a significant milestone in his own life. 

In Ethiopia, Awel worked as a lawyer and an educator, dedicated to providing free legal services to marginalized communities. Once in the U.S., Awel found himself in need of the very support he once offered to others. 

“I felt a whirlwind of emotions,” Awel recalls. “On the one hand, I felt safe. On the other, I realized I knew nothing about the U.S. immigration system.”

Awel’s initial uncertainty transformed into determination as he learned about the U.S. immigration system. AsylumWorks connected Awel with a lawyer who guided him through the legal process and helped secure his Employment Authorization Document (EAD). 

With his EAD in hand, Awel enrolled in AsylumWorks’ Employment & Education program. He refined his resume, honed his interview skills, and prepared for employment. These efforts led to his successful application to the Health & Wellness Fellowship Program–an innovative, on-the-job training program that teaches former clients to work with new clients. 

The fellowship not only helped Awel develop new skills but also reinvigorated his passion for helping others. Recognizing his potential to leverage his legal background, Awel was later promoted to Therapeutic Case Manager and finally Legal Navigation Program Manager. Now, he is building the program from the ground up, returning to the work he loves with an even greater opportunity to make an impact.

Awel’s future brims with possibilities. He is currently in the process of earning accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within the Department of Justice, which will broaden the scope of legal services he can provide. 

“I am so relieved that I no longer have to worry about my status,” Awel shares. “Now, I can concentrate on my life plans with a renewed sense of stability and hope.” 

Awel’s story illustrates the profound impact of providing individuals with the tools to protect and promote their health, participate in immigration legal proceedings, and access opportunities needed to integrate into their new communities. Moving forward, Awel remains committed to sharing his experiences and supporting clients at AsylumWorks. 

“I hope my clients feel more empowered when I tell them that I, too, was in a similar situation. I’ve walked this path, and now I’m here to help guide them.” 

“AsylumWorks’ understanding and supportive working environment provided immense comfort during this long and daunting process, Awel reflects. “The emotional support has been truly invaluable, and for that, I am deeply appreciative.”

Contact Information

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