Justice Catalyst Fellow Christopher Opila filed his first case at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) in February 2023.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit seeks records from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and the State Department (“DOS”) about the demographics, processing, and adjudication of applications for admission to the United States as a refugee through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which has long provided a pathway for refugees to reach safety and security within the United States.
President Biden pledged to rebuild and expand USRAP after its decimation by the Trump Administration and bring greater transparency to refugee processing. However, processing issues left over from the Trump administration continue to plague refugee applicants, including IRAP’s clients, and as of January 31, 2023, the Biden Administration has admitted nearly 13,000 fewer refugees than Trump did at the same stage of his term.
Read more about the FOIA suit here.