Protecting and Expanding U.S. Refugee Resettlement
IRAP’s strategic litigation and systemic advocacy seeks to protect and expand the U.S. refugee admissions program and ensure that vulnerable refugees can continue to reach safety in the U.S. For example:
- IRAP has led successful litigation in U.S. courts to oppose efforts to shut down refugee resettlement and challenge unfair, opaque, and arbitrary policies that affect the functioning of these pathways.
- IRAP has led yearly advocacy campaigns urging state and local officials to publicly support refugee resettlement and collected hundreds of signatures from officials in all 50 states for a bipartisan letter sent to the President, affirming their commitment to welcoming refugees in their communities.
- IRAP has also published reports — informed by the insights and experiences of IRAP clients and the broader refugee community — documenting barriers to U.S. resettlement and family reunification and issuing recommendations to protect and expand safe passage that have resulted in positive policy changes.
When Layla and her husband left their home in the Somali region of Ethiopia, they hoped to flee persecution for a safer life. Unfortunately, when her husband was deported from their temporary home in Saudi Arabia, Layla’s story to reach safety was only just beginning.
Despite the hardship she experienced along her dangerous, tenuous journey via Syria and Turkey, Layla and her two young children finally resettled to the U.S. in 2015 with IRAP’s help. However, their story doesn’t end here. Layla and her family have built a loving home in Maine, where her children go to school and she has been able to study and work and give back to the community.
“[It’s] better than my home, because I live safe,” recalls Layla.
Related LitigationView All Cases
HIAS v. Trump: Protecting refugees against state and local veto of resettlement
IRAP filed this lawsuit on behalf of three resettlement agencies challenging an Executive Order giving state and local officials the unprecedented power to refuse refugees being resettled in their jurisdictions.Learn More +
Doe v. Mayorkas: Challenging the mass denial of refugee status to Iranian religious minorities
This class action lawsuit challenges the mass denial of refugee applications of nearly 90 Iranians of persecuted minority faiths who had traveled to Vienna to be processed under the Lautenberg Amendment.Learn More +
FOIA: Access to refugee applicant records
IRAP filed a lawsuit challenging USCIS’s policy of refusing to search the database it uses for refugee adjudications (called “WRAPS”) and claiming to have no records of refugee case files when responding to FOIA requests. Consistent with this policy, USCIS failed to produce a single document when IRAP requested its client’s refugee case file.Learn More +
FOIA: Refugee adjudication policies and procedures
In September 2019, IRAP filed a lawsuit seeking records withheld by the agencies that explain the current state of refugee processing, including training materials, manuals, and policies that govern officers’ evaluations of refugee applications.Learn More +
Related News & Resources
IRAP: President Biden Must do More to Build a Resilient and Robust Refugee Program
Today, President Biden signed a new Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions (PD) maintaining the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 refugee admissions target of 125,000 refugees for FY 2024. After years of record low admissions, refugee resettlement in FY 2023 doubled to more than 51,000 as of August 31. However, that number remains far below the administration’s annual goal, and more must be done to reach it.