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New IRAP Report Outlines Steps to Rebuild Refugee Program: 22 Recommendations for 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

January 11, 2022


Spencer Tilger


(New York, NY) – Today, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) released Rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Program for the Future: 22 Recommendations for 2022, a report addressing current challenges and opportunities to restore the U.S. refugee resettlement program in 2022 and beyond.

After years of disinvestment and disruption, the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) admitted fewer refugees in fiscal year 2021 than ever before. While the Biden administration has raised the refugee cap to 125,000 and promised reforms, the U.S. will not even reach a fraction of that number in actual admissions without substantial and timely changes. 

“The program has now become so burdened with delays that it is at risk of no longer fulfilling its mandate, which is to offer humanitarian protection and advance U.S. interests globally,” writes IRAP in the report’s introduction.

IRAP’s recommendations call for:

  • Expanding adjudication capacity;
  • Enabling efficient interview and vetting processes; and
  • Ensuring due process and transparency for applicants.

The recommendations also address how to best fulfill America’s obligations to refugees it has already committed to welcoming, including Afghan and Iraqi allies, as well as resettled refugees who remain separated from their families abroad.

“More than 2,000 days have passed since I applied for my family to be allowed to join me in this new and hopeful country,” said IRAP plaintiff Afkab Hussein. “But many times my hopes almost died. At some point, I thought I would never reunite with my family, but now I have hope again. I wish for other families in my situation to experience the same hope.” 

After more than five long years of waiting, Afkab’s wife and child are finally booked to travel to and join him in the United States. However, thousands of refugee families like Afkab’s are still separated due to bureaucratic hurdles within USRAP.

“Refugees like Afkab deserve better than a broken system. After years of setbacks, it is time to enact a bold vision to restore the U.S. refugee resettlement program,” said IRAP Policy Analyst Lacy Broemel. “These 22 commonsense recommendations lay the groundwork to rebuild a truly welcoming United States. Without them, President Biden’s commitment to restoring refugee protections risks falling short.”

View the report here.