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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.

October 2017: IRAP led litigation against the refugee ban resulting in the resumption of refugee processing, including family reunification processing and a major settlement. The  government now agreed to expedite the processing of more than 300 refugees who were in the final stages of their resettlement process when the ban was implemented.

September 2019: In response to the Administration’s executive order granting state and local officials unprecedented power to veto refugee resettlement in their jurisdictions, IRAP filed a lawsuit (HIAS v. Trump) on behalf of three resettlement agencies, and secured a preliminary injunction blocking the order, allowing refugee resettlement to continue in all U.S. states.

IRAP has led advocacy campaigns urging state and local officials to publicly support refugee resettlement and collected over 560 signatures from officials in all 50 states for a bipartisan letter sent to President Trump, 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 issuing recommendations to protect and expand safe passage that have resulted in positive policy changes.

Client Story

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.

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