Human rights lawyer and IRAP Co-Founder Becca Heller explained the importance of maintaining America’s refugee program.
“Refugees are not victims desperate for our help. They are survivors who are forced to give up everything in search of a new life, often as a result of our own country’s misguided foreign policies,” she said.
Heller said that, while the world has been seeing a record number of people forced from their homes, the United States will take in the fewest number in the history of its refugee program. Trump also recently chose to veto a congressional mandate that the U.S. stop funding Yemen’s massive war on civilians—yet the U.S. has taken in just one recorded Yemeni refugees. His administration’s inhumane separation policies have also brutally antagonized individuals who simply have nowhere else to turn and need help.
Heller co-founded the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), which provides legal advocacy for refugees and displaced people all over the world. They pair up law students with pro bono lawyers to work on individual cases and because of their work, the U.S.
government was ordered to re-open the cases it has previously denied in the program for Iranian religious minorities.
Heller said that you don’t have to be a lawyer to help the cause, but you need to stay informed about what is happening and how decisions by the government affect refugees and asylum seekers.