About Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, iraqi diaspora Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project IRAP’s programs and services include: Individual Legal Representation for Refugees IRAP is the first organization to provide comprehensive legal representation to individual refugees seeking resettlement. IRAP has successfully resettled more than 2,000 refugees in life or death situations, including Iraqis and Afghans at risk for their work as interpreters with the U.S. military, children with medical emergencies, women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and survivors of torture. IRAP is currently working on the cases of more than 350 families. IRAP has chapters at 25 law schools in the U.S. and Canada. Chapters are student-initiated and directed. Law students work in pairs under the supervision of pro bono attorneys from private firms. They prepare visa applications, submit appeals, and advocate and empower our clients to successfully negotiate the resettlement process. Until September 2010, IRAP was entirely run by volunteer law student directors. Now, with a full team and growing network of volunteers, we are expanding the number of cases we can tackle. Resources for legal advocates are available here. Fact-Finding and Policy Advocacy Because IRAP handles so many individual cases, our law students and lawyers have a unique insight into refugee processing. We utilize the knowledge gained from our individual cases to advocate for specific legal reforms to systems of refugee and Special Immigrant Visa processing in the United States. Students from different chapters also take on specific fact-finding projects, traveling to the Middle East and doing research in the US, including: Protection for Iraqi and Afghan allies who risked their lives working as interpreters for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Special categories and protection for vulnerable groups of refugees, including LGBT refugees and women at risk of domestic violence or sexual trafficking Improvements to the refugee resettlement process, including allowing refugees access to counsel and ensuring transparent appeals, to ensure that every refugee has is treated fairly and humanely, with respect for their basic human rights. Learn more about our policy advocacy work. Refugee Roadmap Refugee Roadmap assists Iraqi refugees in the United States by answering their questions about life in America and highlighting their accomplishments so that other refugees can benefit from their experience. The project is sustained by volunteers from different countries and different faiths. Volunteers include students, retirees, professionals, Iraq war veterans and previously resettled refugees. They share the experience of living in the US and a desire to help newly arrived Iraqi refugees. Volunteers answer questions and participate in a team effort to provide Iraqi refugees with a roadmap for navigating life in America. Learn more about the Refugee Roadmap. Clinical Legal Education The meat of IRAP’s legal work on behalf of individual refugees is done by law student volunteers participating in our 25 chapters, each fully-funded by its host law school and supervised by attorneys from top law firms. Three chapters have full-fledged academic seminars built entirely around IRAP work. Students receive training in international human rights and refugee law, practicum with experienced litigators, practical knowledge of legal ethics, exposure to Middle Eastern law and culture, and the chance to partner with law student counterparts in Jordan. Each chapter is divided into casework and policy advocacy sections. While casework teams work on individual refugee cases, advocacy teams collect the information generated through casework to inform national advocacy efforts. Since our founding, we have engaged over 1,200 law students, ensuring that the next generation of legal leaders is trained in human rights law and advocacy.
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