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International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

IRAP is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.

As an IRAP chapter, we are committed to effecting meaningful change in the refugee and immigration legal landscape. To that end, the Penn Law IRAP Chapter brings together law students interested in immigration and refugee work with various actors for volunteer opportunities. The scope of our work ranges from preparing materials to support ongoing refugee status applications to monitoring the experiences of immigrants and refugees within court proceedings.

Since its establishment in 2008, IRAP has played a pivotal role in resettling over 4,200 refugees and their families across 18 different countries. Additionally, IRAP has provided training to more than 4,000 law students and lawyers throughout this process. Notably, Penn Law proudly stands as one of IRAP’s 26 student chapters spanning the United States and Canada.

Examples of past projects:

Direct Client Work

Our volunteers have participated in numerous intake and naturalization clinics in the past. Additionally, IRAP volunteers have historically assisted clients in filing applications for refugee status and aided them throughout the relevant legal process.

Court Monitoring

Students participating in this project have researched immigration court policies and monitored their impact on immigrants and refugees. Two areas of particular focus for this project are (1) access to documents and materials in an immigrant or refugee’s native language; and (2) access to technology to attend their proceedings remotely.

Country Conditions Reporting

In collaboration with the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), our students have researched and compiled country conditions reports for immigrants seeking asylum, withholding of removal, or cancellation of removal. In weighing whether to grant these types of relief, immigration officials and judges consider country conditions. Our students’ research will assist NSC attorneys and clients in their claims by providing up-to-date information on various topics ranging from the treatment of LGBTQ individuals in Jamaica to health systems in Mexico.


The Penn Law IRAP Chapter hosts events to help raise awareness about issues facing refugees and immigrants. We also hope to host letter-writing workshops where volunteers write to local representatives advocating for refugee-friendly policies.

How can I join:

Interested students should apply here and contact Mehreen Usman ( or Narintohn Luangrath ( with any questions.

This work is likely to be New York bar eligible.