IRAP Berkeley currently has 20 active refugee cases pending with current students representing over 75 individuals from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan. The work mainly consists of preparing applications for resettlement interviews which can include research on country conditions, affidavit collection, client interview preparation, and collecting documents. We also handle appeals and occasionally conduct congressional inquiries when cases are delayed. Students will develop both research and legal writing skills, and will also learn how to conduct interviews and develop a client relationship. Specifically, students will have the opportunity to work with clients of diverse backgrounds, languages, religions, and countries. Additionally, we are expanding our role as policy advocates so students will have the opportunity to work on domestic policy initiatives at the federal, state, and potentially local level on issues related to refugee resettlement.
IRAP is a great opportunity to do impactful and timely work. It is a big commitment, but we aim to make the experience one that brings people together as students and advocates. Besides the work with our clients, we want IRAP Berkeley to be a community. Since we are working with an international parent-organization, students who are considering doing asylum/refugee work post-law school have the opportunity to network with people at an important organization in that field. For those who do not intend to work in public interest after graduation, working with IRAP is a great way to start developing your future pro-bono practice and get exposure to some of the law firms who supervise our cases.
Time Commitment: The time commitment is 30-40 hours a semester, depending on the type of case. This includes both work on the case, trainings, and IRAP meetings. We expect students to work with IRAP for the life of the case, absent serious extenuating circumstances (such as leaving school, taking a job that disallows continued work (like a clerkship), or other situations beyond a student’s control). This means that students do not commit to a semester or year, but for the entire application, which can be several years. While this is quite a commitment, students need to be realistic when deciding whether to join this group due to the gravity of leaving a refugee case halfway through, which can further endanger already vulnerable clients.
Video Recording of the Fall 2016 Immigration SLPS Information Session (Introduction to: Berkeley Immigration Group – Detention Project; Berkeley Immigration Law Clinic; Boalt Anti-Trafficking Project; California Asylum Representation Clinic; East Bay Dreamer Clinic; and International Refugee Assistance Project). Recorded Thursday, September 1.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at berkeleyrefugeerights@gmail.
We are grateful to our supporters:
Dena Y. Acevedo ’12
Ryan K. Elsey ’12
Morrison & Foerster Foundation
Matthew D. Pelnar ’13