International Refugee Assistance Project


International Refugee Assistance Project logo

About IRAP

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world's most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.

Since its founding in 2008, IRAP has helped resettle over 4000 refugees and their families to 18 different countries and has trained over 2000 law students and lawyers in the process. Seattle U Law is one of IRAP's 30 student chapters across the United States and Canada.

What does IRAP do and how do we do it?

  1. IRAP has created a “virtual public interest law firm”—a firm that is not impeded by geographic boundaries and uses technological solutions to deliver free high-quality representation to people living in, and fleeing from, war, persecution, and political upheaval around the world. The Seattle chapter contributes to IRAP’s effort by working with pro bono attorneys to assist refugees and displaced people on urgent registration, protection, and resettlement cases.
  2. Through impact litigation and systemic advocacy, IRAP also brings legal challenges to refugee rights violations in the courts, creating solutions to overcoming the legal and bureaucratic impediments in the resettlement process, and developing an enforceable system of legal and procedural rights for refugees and displaced persons worldwide. Our unique model utilizes lessons learned in individual casework to advocate for systemic changes that benefit broader refugee populations.
  3. Finally, a crucial prong of IRAP’s approach is to train the next generation of international human rights advocates. These advocates are essential to ensuring fairness, decency, and adherence to the rule of law throughout the refugee resettlement process. The Seattle chapter is also proud to be an active participant in this regard, with our students going on to work and volunteer in such pursuits as local and international human rights NGOs and institutions such as, inter alia, the United Nations, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and multiple refugee and immigration firms.

IRAP at Seattle University School of Law

The Seattle chapter was founded in 2011, and for many years assisted IRAP's mission by pairing law students with attorneys to provide legal representation to refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. More recently, we have moved to other projects such as court monitoring and similar endeavors to build IRAP's community and resource bank in the Seattle area and broader Pacific Northwest. We also regularly host outreach events, film screenings, speaker panels, and an annual CLE training. Our student leaders have consistently attended the National Student Summit in New York to meet with IRAP students and leaders from across IRAP’s network. Seattle students also participate in IRAP student trips to Jordan and Lebanon, where they meet with IRAP’s international staff, receive additional training, and contribute to the organization’s work in the Middle East.

To get involved with the Seattle chapter of IRAP, please follow us on Facebook or email sulaw.irap@gmail.com.