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Climate of Coercion: Environmental and Other Drivers of Cross-Border Displacement in Central America and Mexico

March 30, 2023

This report published by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and Human Security Initiative (HUMSI) analyzes the intersection of climate change and climate-related disasters with other root causes of movement across borders for people who have traveled to the United States-Mexico border from Central America and other parts of Mexico to seek U.S. humanitarian protection. It is based on 38 interviews in Tijuana shelters with Guatemalan, Honduran, Mexican, and Salvadoran individuals who intend to seek U.S. asylum, conducted in Spanish in January 2023 by HUMSI and a team of Stanford Law School students.

Spotlight on Local and Refugee-Led Efforts to Address Key Protection Needs: Lessons Learned in Three Key Regions

March 13, 2023

In 2022, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) undertook a geographic rapid assessment project to better understand the unmet legal needs and protection gaps faced by displaced people in three regions of the world: Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South and Southeast Asia.This report synthesizes insights and recommendations gathered from interviews with refugee-led initiatives (RLI) and local organizations serving populations facing acute systemic legal rights violations, shares key trends impacting displaced populations in the three regions, and identifies opportunities for more productive and inclusive philanthropic engagement and international cooperation with historically excluded RLIs.

Envisioning a Way Forward: Climate Displacement Legal Strategy Convening

January 26, 2023

This synthesis report presents key strategic points that were discussed in a convening on climate displacement that took place on October 25-26, 2022. It highlights how much work must be done to create an equitable legal framework that responds to the needs of the most marginalized people and potential future projects that may address these needs.

Practice Advisory: USCIS’s New Refugee-Asylee Informal Marriage Guidance

June 24, 2022

On February 14, 2022, USCIS issued new guidance on recognizing informal marriages of refugees and asylees. Under the new guidance, USCIS will recognize an informal marriage when a refugee or asylee could not lawfully marry due to their flight from persecution and circumstances beyond their control or because of restrictive laws or practices in their country of origin or country of first asylum. USCIS's guidance only applies in adjudications of refugee applications (I-590's), asylum applications (I-589's), and refugee/asylee family reunification petitions (I-730's). In this practice advisory, we explain the new guidance and how legal practitioners can assist impacted refugee and asylee families.

Recommendations for the Upcoming U.S. Private Sponsorship Pilot for Refugees

March 15, 2022

As the U.S. Department of State draws closer to launching a private sponsorship pilot program for refugees, as stated in the President's Report to Congress on Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2022, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH), and the Niskanen Center offer recommendations for the program's design.

Information and Resources for People Fleeing the Conflict in Ukraine

March 8, 2022

This guide is for people of all nationalities who have fled the war in Ukraine. If you are a citizen of Ukraine, you can enter countries in the Schengen area, or Romania or Moldova, without a visa. You can stay in these countries for up to 90 days. Information about entering these countries is below. If you are in a country in the European Union, you will be able to apply for temporary protection status, which will allow you to stay longer in that country. More information about this status is below.If you are not a Ukrainian citizen but are fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, you can also enter the below countries that neighbor Ukraine. This admission may be temporary (for example, to allow you to arrange to return to your home country). You may also be able to apply for a longer-term status, like temporary protection or asylum, if you had residency in Ukraine or are unable to return to your home country. This depends on what your legal status was in Ukraine and whether you are able to return to your home country. More information about temporary protection status is below. If you do not want to return to your home country, you may want to seek legal advice from one of the organizations below.

Utilizing American Rescue Plan Funds to Serve Refugee and Immigrant Communities

January 12, 2022

Signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) appropriated approximately $1.9 trillion to provide relief to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These allocations included aid for small businesses, direct stimulus funds to households, rental and income assistance, access to medical care and mental health services, and infrastructure aid. In addition, out of the roughly $1.9 trillion, $350 billion was reserved for states, localities, and tribal governments. State and local governments have broad discretion in how they can utilize state and local fiscal recovery funds (SLFRF) to alleviate the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.One of the primary goals of ARPA is to encourage investment in communities hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, namely, underserved and underprivileged communities of color, such as immigrants and refugees. State and local governments have an unprecedented and unique opportunity to address the inequalities laid bare during the pandemic by investing in programs and services that address longstanding needs in these underserved communities.This guide is intended to assist immigrant and refugee advocates and service providers in identifying potential funding opportunities through ARPA. Several states and localities have either not yet allocated any SLFRF resources at all or have only partially allocated such funds. Some states and localities are still collecting feedback from communities on how such funds should be dispensed. Therefore, there remain opportunities for advocates to mobilize and request ARPA funds to be directed towards refugee and immigrant support programing.

Rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Program for the Future: 22 Recommendations for 2022

January 11, 2022

Refugees seeking resettlement to the U.S. experience major barriers that cause delays, confusion, and, ultimately, a failure to fairly adjudicate their claims for protection. This report by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) offers 22 recommendations to address current challenges and improve the refugee resettlement program in 2022 and onwards. The proposals include several of the goals set forth by President Biden in his February 4, 2021 executive order relating to refugees (the "Refugee EO") and can help the Biden administration meet its commitment to resettle 125,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22). Importantly, though, this report urges the Biden administration to look to the future of resettlement. Improving the capacity, efficiency, and transparency of USRAP this year will ensure the program can continue to be a life-saving protection tool for refugees, advance U.S. strategic interests overseas more fully, and strengthen the resiliency of local communities across the country

Fulfilling America’s Promise: Options to Make U.S. Humanitarian Protection Pathways Viable for At-Risk Afghans

November 9, 2021

In this report, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), InterAction, and Human Rights First lay out several options available to the Biden Administration to provide at-risk Afghans viable humanitarian pathways out of Afghanistan and third countries and into the U.S.

Families in Limbo: What the Biden Administration Can Do Now to Address Unreasonable Delays in Refugee and Asylee Family Reunification

March 9, 2021

This report outlines how the "Follow-to-Join" process has been hampered by actions taken by the Trump Administration and how the Biden Administration can improve the process. It  compiles information that IRAP has learned in litigation, as well as through individualrepresentation of clients in the refugee admissions process, engaging in policy advocacy, and pursuingFreedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.