News & Resources

IRAP in The New York Times: Systemic Delays Preclude Protection for Refugees

The New York Times today quoted IRAP’s Director, Becca Heller, in an important article spotlighting the long delays refugees face when applying for resettlement to the United States. The article helps amplify a critical conversation about how bureaucracy impacts America’s ability to protect those fleeing persecution: the Obama administration’s promises to accept more refugees will amount to little if systemic obstacles prevent applicants from making it through the pipeline in a timely fashion.

Currently, refugee applicants routinely spend years waiting for their cases to progress. It takes the U.S. government years to process the relevant paperwork, and the face-to-face interviews refugees must undergo in order to qualify have in some cases been postponed indefinitely when security concerns bar U.S. government staff from being on the ground.

Reform of the current system is one of IRAP’s top policy priorities. Without reliable and accessible legal avenues to protection, those facing persecution are pushed to other means of escape. “Nothing happens with their case for two years, and then they get on a boat,” said Heller to The New York Times. “It’s hard to advise people against that.”

You can read the full article here. Please share widely with your networks!