News & Resources

IRAP in The New York Times: Why Can’t Refugees Get Lawyers?

Today, IRAP published an op-ed in The New York Times, making a case for why refugees overseas should have access to counsel as they move through the resettlement application process. Access to counsel for refugees is one of IRAP’s priority policy agenda items.

This particular piece tells the story of Ahmed, an IRAP client whose struggles with the resettlement interview process clearly demonstrate why the expertise of an attorney amounts to so much for those seeking refuge. The benefits of having a lawyer present are clear: “By reducing the frequency of miscommunication between the applicant and the interviewer, counsel makes the process more efficient. According to the American Bar Association, a legal advocate helps the government interviewer by “bridging linguistic, cultural, and psychological gaps.””

Yet lawyers are currently barred from refugee interviews overseas. Check out the full piece here to read IRAP’s argument for why we need swift reform.