International Refugee Assistance Project
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and attorneys to provide legal representation for refugees seeking resettlement. IRAP started with five students at Yale Law School assisting a handful of families in Iraq. Today, we work with 1,200 students at 26 law schools and attorneys from more than 60 law firms and 6 multinational corporations to serve thousands of refugees and displaced persons in 26+ countries around the world.
What does IRAP do?
IRAP implements a dual approach of direct legal aid combined with systematic policy advocacy. This combination of legal aid and policy advocacy has helped us resettle over 3,000 of the world’s most vulnerable individuals to 9 safe new countries, provided legal advice to 10,000 additional individuals, and changed the lives of 120,000 others through systematic reform. Our clients include Syrian refugees, 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, LGBTI individuals, and survivors of torture.
How does IRAP work?
Law students work in pairs under the supervision of pro bono attorneys. Teams prepare visa applications and affidavits, submit appeals and supplementary evidence, research factual and legal claims, draft memorandums and briefs, and advocate and empower our clients to successfully negotiate the resettlement process. We provide representation to clients for cases including UNHCR refugee status determination, U.S. Special Immigrant Visas, and USCIS refugee interviews and proceedings.
IRAP at Seattle University School of Law
The Seattle University School of Law Chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project, then the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, was founded in 2011. The Seattle Chapter has paired students and attorneys to provide representation to refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Our student leaders have attended the National Student Summit in New York to meet with IRAP students and leaders from across the country, receive training on the work IRAP does, and represent the Seattle Chapter, still the only IRAP chapter in the Pacific Northwest. Students have also traveled to abroad with IRAP to meet with IRAP’s international staff, receive additional training, and participate in IRAP’s work on the ground in Iraq and Jordan.