Elissa Stiles Provides Legal Aid to Afghan Refugee Family of 19

Elissa Stiles Provides Legal Aid to Afghan Refugee Family of 19

Elissa Stiles

Elissa Stiles’ passion for advocating and fighting for those across the globe did not begin in law school at University of Tulsa.

Nor did it begin at Rivas & Associates where Stiles has developed a reputation as being a sought-after Tulsa immigration law attorney.

Rather, Stiles’ devotion to helping those from distant locales and countries began while studying abroad during her TU undergraduate days in Peru, Brazil and Madagascar.

“I never wanted to just go to law school and find a path,” Elissa Stiles said. “I wanted to go to law school so I could fuel my passion of helping those less fortunate. I wanted to be part of the solution. My host families in Peru, Brazil and Madagascar really inspired me to do what I am doing today. My experiences abroad are what led me to be an immigration lawyer.”

Those former host families should be extremely proud of the work Stiles has done and continues to do.

The up-and-coming Tulsa immigration law attorney is currently participating in a pro-bono collaboration spearheaded by the University of Tulsa Legal Clinic in representing a family of 19 from Afghanistan seeking to evacuate the country after Taliban forces took over the country earlier this month.

“It’s obviously a very difficult, dangerous and heartbreaking situation that the Afghan people are going through,” Elissa Stiles said. “The issue we’re dealing with the most is they can’t find a way out of the country right now.”

Stiles represents three of the 19 family members – two parents and child – who she is trying to get Humanitarian Parole Forms approved. She and other Tulsa immigration attorneys and law firms are doing pro-bono work and helping raise money for the family 19 whose immigration application and legal fees will be in the neighborhood of $10,000.

“It’s a lot of money,” Stiles said. “I think TU and the Tulsa legal community is really trying to help which is wonderful to see. There are so many other attorneys and law firms across the nation diving in and taking pro-bono cases to help the Afghan people.”

Stiles would not go into too many details regarding the family due to privacy and safety concerns for their well-being. She did say she hasn’t been able to directly contact them, but that TU Law Clinic has been in contact with the family has been providing updates to her and other attorneys.

Stiles added that U.S. residents should feel compelled to help out the Afghan people because many, her client included, trained with U.S. forces in hopes of establishing democracy in Afghanistan.

“We owe them, especially after being so loyal to us,” Stiles said. “Obligated is the wrong word; I feel compelled to take on pro-bono cases when I am able to do.”

A Full-Service Immigration Law Firm Committed to Helping Others in Need

That Elissa Stiles felt compelled to help an Afghan family in need is not surprising.

Since Rivas & Associates first opened its office doors in the diverse Tulsa neighborhood of Kendall Whittier in 2020, the firm has been committed to fighting and providing keen legal insight to those in need.

Firm founder Lorena Rivas has established herself as one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished immigration attorneys in the U.S. Rivas has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star each of the past three years and is often sought out by organizations and prominent media outlets to weigh in on controversial immigration issues.

“I work at a great firm and with some amazing people,” Elissa Stiles said. “The work we do is fueled by our passion to help other less fortunate.”           

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