Hours of Operation: Mon - Fri 8:00am - 8:00pm

Supporting justice for those who seek peace

Legal resources

for asylum seekers

Asylum Support Fund provides legal resources for people fleeing violence and injustice.


Asylum Support Fund (ASF) provides vital legal resources for asylum seekers. We are not lawyers, but we give lawyers the tools they need to help their clients who seek refuge in the United States. 

We are the only organization in the United States focused exclusively on providing legal resources such as expert witnesses, translation and interpreters, court fees and Green Card application fees for asylum seekers.

When asylum seekers enter the legal system in the United States, their cases -- and their lives -- depend on effective legal representation.

Today, thousands of dedicated asylum attorneys are working on a pro bono basis to support them. But too often these attorneys cannot do their jobs effectively because they lack the tools and resources they need. 

Effective cases require expert witnesses, translation and interpreter services, court fees, Green Card application fees, and other legal costs. 

These costs are often not large, but most asylum seekers lack the funds to pay for them. Their cases can be won or lost -- and their families' lives changed forever -- based on the availability of a good interpreter or expert witness.

Asylum seekers and their attorneys need our help.


ASF partners with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project to identify where grants will be most effective -- which cases have the most urgent need for an interpreter, expert witness or court fees. PAIR then coordinates the legal representation for asylum seekers.

ASF does not provide direct financial support for attorneys. Rather, ASF provides resources that attorneys need to do their jobs most effectively.


100% of contributions to ASF go directly to asylum legal support services. We are an entirely volunteer organization, and have no administrative overhead costs and no paid staff.

All of the money raised by ASF goes directly to helping asylum seekers.

ASYLUM STORIES: Making a Difference

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        *all names have been altered

An Interpreter for Raoul

Asylum seekers come to the United States from all over the globe, and many of them speak languages that are distinct to their region or ethnicity.

Raoul* is an asylum seeker from Central Africa whose parents were killed when he was a teenager. Without any family to help him, Raoul fled his home country and made stops across Africa before finally reaching the United States, where he was detained in ICE custody for several months as he awaited his asylum hearing.

Although Raoul received generous donations of time by volunteer interpreters, immigration attorneys could not have represented Raoul without access to a professional interpreter - a valuable service which a grant from the Asylum Support Fund made possible.

Asylum Support Fund is designed to pay for professional interpreters to support clients like Raoul.

Green Cards for the Martinez family

Dr. Alejandro Martinez* -- shown here holding his family's brand new Green Cards -- is an asylum-seeker who fled Nicaragua after receiving death threats from the government because he provided medical treatment to anti-government protestors.

After unrelenting harassment from the government and several death threats, Dr. Martinez fled to the US with his wife and their 4-year-old son.   

Asylum Support Fund paid for required medical exams for all three of them. They recently received their Green Cards and look forward to their new life in the U.S.!

U-visa fees for Caaliyah

Caaliyah* is a young woman from Central America who was a victim of brutal domestic violence. After reaching the United States, Caaliyah was arrested by ICE, separated from her young son Aadan*, and denied asylum in her hearing. Fortunately, the amazing work of PAIR attorneys helped Caaliyah secure a U-visa certification (a type of nonimmigrant-visa specifically reserved for victims of substantial abuse).

Thanks to this U-visa, Caaliyah was finally released from months in ICE detention and happily reunited with her son Aadan in Connecticut. She is now working multiple restaurant jobs trying to support the two of them.

But in order for Caaliyah and her son to stay in the United States, they needed to pay approximately $1,860 in fees for their two U-visas. Caaliyah did not have the funds to make this payment. A grant from Asylum Support Fund was able to give Caaliyah the help she urgently needed.

Asylum Support Fund is designed to break down barriers that hold individuals like Caaliyah back. The payment of these fees presents a barrier between our client being able to move towards becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen versus remaining at risk of deportation.

A Successful Appeal for Valentina

Valentina* came to the US from Central America when she was a teenager, fleeing home with her younger sister and traveling through horrific conditions to get to the US border to seek protection. They had been abandoned by their father as infants, and their mother was abusive.

Valentina and her sister arrived in the United States and were transferred to the care of their older sister who lived in Massachusetts. Valentina enrolled in a local high school (where she recently graduated!) while PAIR represented her and her sister in applications for "Special Immigrant Juvenile Status" (a type of visa which can lead to a green card).

For technical reasons, the USCIS rejected Valentina's SIJS application - but a grant from Asylum Support Fund allowed Valentina to appeal the decision. Her appeal and application were granted! 

Asylum Support Fund is designed to give individuals like Valentina the second chances they have never received as well as the justice that they truly deserve. The payment of a small fee like this one can make a huge difference in the life of a young woman as she hopes to rebuild her life here and live in safety. 

The Asylum Crisis

The situation for asylum seekers in the United States is dire. 

In 2018, nearly 100,000 people claimed asylum in the United States – nearly double the number of the prior year. These are human beings who have experienced unspeakable horrors, and they are seeking refuge in a nation that for centuries has been a beacon of hope to people all over the world.

But the current administration has made drastic changes to the legal process in an effort to limit the number of people who receive asylum in the U.S. They've separated families; refused to process applications; nominated anti-asylum judges; and forced asylum seekers to present their cases in tent courtrooms without interpreters or lawyers present.

Although turning away asylum seekers and sending them back to their home countries is against international and U.S. law, those seeking protection are now required to seek asylum in countries they pass through, and may be sent to other countries if they arrive at a border crossing seeking asylum.

These countries are themselves plagued by violence and corruption, and advocates say they are not equipped to handle them. Asylum seekers will only be allowed to apply for asylum in the United States if they have not received asylum in those countries.


It is a very dangerous and extremely difficult time for people fleeing violence and persecution.

Asylum Relief Fund seeks to ensure that asylum seekers have the resources necessary to have a fair legal hearing in the United States.


Kathy Cunha, President

  • Kathy is a Senior Success advisor at Bottom Line, a nonprofit organization that supports first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds. She is a long-term volunteer for Horizons for Homeless Children’s Play Space Activity program. Her interest in asylum work was sparked by outrage over the treatment of families at our Southern border, which led her to co-found Asylum Support Fund in 2019. Kathy is a graduate of Harvard College. You can reach Kathy at kathy@asylumsupportfund.org.

Bob Cunha, Board Member

  • Bob is a co-founder of Asylum Support Fund.  He is also the managing attorney at Massachusetts Defender LLC, a criminal defense firm for low-income and immigrant clients.  Bob serves as an adjunct professor at Suffolk Univiersity Law School, focused on civil rights issue.  He is a graduate of Harvard College and Suffolk University Law School.  You can reach bob at bob@asylumsupportfund.org.

Irene Freidel, Board member

  • Irene is an attorney at PAIR specializing in detention, removal defense, and federal court practice, and represents immigrants in ICE detention. Prior to joining PAIR, Irene practiced law at K&L Gates LLP in Boston, from 1991 through June 2017. She has over twenty-five years of experience as a high-level complex commercial litigator. Irene is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where she received her B.A. in anthropology. She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Irene joined PAIR in 2017.


 Green Card application fee                                            $1200

  Expert witness on country conditions                         $750

  Interpreter to support asylum claim                          $500

Medical exam for child's Green Card                          $350

  Court fees for unaccompanied child                           $250

Document translation for application                       $100

Bus and subway fares to lawyers/court                    $50

Other amount            

100% of your donation goes directly to support asylum cases.

Asylum Support Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) corporation. All donations are tax deductible.

EIN 84-3443808

Resources for Asylum Seekers

If you are a refugee or asylum-seeker in need of assistance in the U.S, you can call +1 202-461-2356 to leave a message at any time for UNHCR Regional Office Washington. You will receive a call back during normal business hours.