Time Out for a Good Cause

It’s that time of year again.  For those of you who’ve been here long enough, you’ll remember that last year I went on a service trip to Iraq.  While there I, along with several other IRAP volunteers, conducted interviews with refugees, made connections with NGOs, and helped people whose lives are in imminent danger apply for asylum in the U.S.

For obvious reasons, I will not be returning to Iraq this year.  I will, however, be going to Lebanon.  The country has seen an incredible influx of Syrian refugees, who are caught in the fight between an oppressive ruling regime on one side and radical islamic fundamentalists on the other.  The organization I volunteer for, the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, helps these people navigate the bureaucratic nightmare that is the U.S. asylum and immigration procedure.  I want to emphasize that we target out limited resources towards the clients judged to be in immediate, life-threatening danger.  We help them apply for asylum in the U.S., prepare them for their interviews, push the immigration services for case resolutions, and file appeals on client’s behalf when they have been wrongly rejected.

For those of you who donated last year, I’m pleased to tell you that one of the clients a met with, a young LGBT Iraqi man, has already been resettled safely in the U.S.  So don’t worry about results, because we get them!

Unfortunately, the trip is expensive.  To help defray the costs, we’ve set up a fundraising page here.  Any help is greatly appreciated (and tax deductible).

Even if you can’t donate, you can watch the video below.  It’s just a few minutes long, and it will give you a feel for the type of clients we deal with and the issues they face.

For those of you with some additional time (17 mins), here’s a clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that gives a really good overview of the issue.

Thanks again.  If you’re reading this blog, you probably have a relatively stable life.  Not everyone is as lucky, so if you can afford it, please do help us.



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