The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) harnesses the power of law students, law schools, and practicing attorneys to work on behalf of refugees and forced migrants. IRAP’s clients include some of the most at-risk communities around the world, including LGBTI refugees, women, and religious/ethnic minorities. Law students are paired with pro bono attorneys and individual clients in various stages of the migration and resettlement process. The time commitment is variable, based on the needs of the client and the preferences of the student volunteers. Volunteers conducting casework are assigned a resettlement case and placed in teams of 2-3 students under the supervision of an upper level classmate and a pro bono attorney. Depending on the complexity of the case, the needs of the client and their availability, and external deadlines, volunteers can spend 4-5 hours per week. Volunteers conducting intake interviews for individuals who might benefit from IRAP’s services will receive new intake assignments as they are able to complete them. Each intake interview takes about 3-4 hours with an estimated 15 hours of follow up. Volunteers who participate in IRAP’s community service projects in the Greater Philadelphia area are called upon on an “as needed” basis to assist with single events such as assisting resettled refugees with permanent residency (green card) applications.
Volunteers with IRAP will learn and expand on effective client and case management skills. They will learn about the international and national legal framework governing forced migration and refugee resettlement. By engaging with government and non-governmental organizations on consistent bases, volunteers will gain valuable experience advocating on behalf of clients forced to navigate multiple complex systems. This project exposes students to the ins and outs in of the international refugee system, as well as the workings of US Immigration. In addition, volunteers get to work with other students and supervising attorneys, making ties with people working in a number of fields. Because each case and client has a different story with different legal needs, IRAP volunteers will learn about the stages and complexities of an often years-long process. Although advocating for refugees and forced migrants in the current climate is difficult work, we are proud to stand with the organizations on the front lines committed to ensuring that these populations have guides in navigating a hostile and difficult system, with the possibility of ensuring their safe arrival in the United States.
|Heath Khan||Legal Director|
|Matthew French||Legal Director|
|Meroua Zouai||Community Outreach|
|Ryan Plesh||Case Manager|
|Victoria Yuhas||Case Manager|
|Emily Kyle||Case Manager|
|Katharina Schwarz||Case Manager|