Mission: To organize law students and lawyers to develop and enforce legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons through direct legal aid and policy advocacy.
About the Organization: Founded in 2008 by Yale Law School students and now a project of the New York City-based Urban Justice Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project partners law students with pro bono lawyers to assist refugees from Afghanistan, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen. With twenty-nine chapters at law schools across the United States and Canada and offices in Jordan and Lebanon, the organization is supported in its work by more than seventy-five international law firms on a pro bono basis.
Current Programs: The organization provides comprehensive legal representation during the registration, protection, and resettlement process to refugees and displaced persons, including Iraqi and Afghan wartime allies of the U.S., persecuted religious minorities, emerging refugee populations, female survivors of sexual or gender-biased violence, children with medical emergencies, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex refugees. Through the organization's volunteer programs, pro bono attorneys work directly with refugees and assist IRAP staff and attorneys with the screening and preparation of legal cases, while intake volunteers help with screening requests for legal assistance and as interpreters. IRAP also runs summer internship programs for law students in its Beirut (Lebanon) and Amman (Jordan) offices.
The organization's advocacy program works to bring about strategic improvements to global refugee processing by boosting the capacity of nongovernmental organizations, targets programming and policy advocacy for the most vulnerable refugees, and advocates for a private sponsorship program in the U.S. to facilitate the resettlement of additional refugees. During the 113th Congress, IRAP helped enact into law six pieces of federal legislation offering visas and legal protections to nearly a hundred and thirty thousand displaced people, and in November it issued a policy framework with recommendations for the incoming Trump administration.
Website: Visitors to the IRAP site can stay abreast of the latest developments related to President Trump's executive order barring the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Those who have been directly affected by the EO can request assistance by filling out a questionnaire. Visitors also can follow developments via the organization's blog, search for a local IRAP chapter, apply to be a volunteer or intern, sign up to receive action alerts or the organization's newsletter, and/or make a donation.
Funding: IRAP is supported by the Urban Justice Center and individuals.