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International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

We are a group of students 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.

What we do:

Court Monitoring

Students participating in this project will research immigration court policies and monitor 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. (May be updated depending on the COVID pandemic).

Country Conditions Reporting

In collaboration with the Nationalities Service Center (NSC), our students will research and compile 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.

Direct Client Work

We are working hard to develop a project wherein students may work directly with clients. We are in discussion with multiple organizations seeking to resettle Afghans displaced by the political situation unfolding there. Please check our website for updates as this project takes shape.

Supporting Refugees in Legal Proceedings

IRAP volunteers have historically assisted clients file applications for refugee status and aided them throughout the relevant legal process. We currently have one ongoing legal case. However, we are not looking for volunteers to assist in this project at this time.

Advocacy

The UPenn 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 and when can I join:

Interested students can complete an application in the beginning of the fall via this link: https://forms.gle/mfozobA17ndbLgLF7

Please contact Alexander Holmgren (aholmg@pennlaw.upenn.edu) or Maya Bradley (mayacb@pennlaw.upenn.edu) if you have any questions or want to learn more.

This work is likely to be New York bar eligible.