Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally

by International Rescue Committee
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Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally
Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S. and Globally

Project Report | Jun 12, 2024
What happens once asylum seekers enter the U.S.?

By Savannah Paolillo | Impact Report Services

IRC caseworker meets with an asylum seeking family
IRC caseworker meets with an asylum seeking family

The United States has a proud history of providing safety to people fleeing violence and persecution. The act of seeking asylum is a legal right protected under international and domestic U.S. law. Asylum provides a lifeline to those fleeing dangerous situations in their countries of origin even if that often means undertaking perilous journeys to get refuge. 

Currently, some people who have arrived at the U.S. border and have sought asylum protection are facing extended waiting periods—up to seven years in some cases—for their application to be adjudicated. Meanwhile, restrictions on the right to work and limited access to assistance programs, make it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to support themselves and their families.U.S. Congress should allow asylum seekers to contribute to the nation’s economy by expediting the work permit application process so that they do not need to rely on others for support as they rebuild their lives. 

What does it mean to seek asylum? 

People who have fled their homes in search of safety or protection can seek asylum once they are physically present in the U.S. or at a port of entry, such as an airport or official land crossing. Asylum seekers must demonstrate to authorities that they are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. 

How long does it take to claim asylum? 

There are currently more than two million pending asylum cases in the U.S. The backlog of asylum cases has led to unprecedented waiting times, forcing asylum seekers to endure waits of up to seven years. This backlog separates asylum-seekers from family members stranded abroad, interferes with integration opportunities and damages the credibility of the U.S. asylum system. 

Congressional leadership should address the asylum backlog that leaves people seeking protection waiting years for decisions by scaling funding to onboard additional asylum officers and judges. The U.S. must work to improve the speed of fair adjudications, without sacrificing the due process guarantees integral to a safe, humane and orderly asylum system. 

Can asylum seekers work in the U.S.? 

Currently, asylum applicants have to apply for employment authorization and wait at least 180 days for a work permit. When people seeking asylum come to the U.S., they want to support themselves and their families rather than rely on humanitarian support as they rebuild their lives and integrate into their new communities. 

Employers and host communities can also benefit from expedited work permits to meet the needs of an aging workforce and labor shortages, filling critical gaps in the labor market. The current 180-day wait for employment authorization limits the ability of asylum seekers to provide for themselves and their families and increases their risk of exploitation or other abusive situations, including human trafficking. 

How does the IRC support asylum seekers in the U.S.? 

In fiscal year 2023, the IRC’s Asylum and Crossborder programs served nearly 50,000 people in need of protection in the U.S., with a warm welcome, case management and emergency assistance. Our Welcome Center provides humanitarian reception for asylum seekers, including food, shelter, clothes, safe play areas for children, legal orientation, medical screening and travel assistance.  

The IRC has also launched critical information services for asylum seekers and vulnerable communities: InfoPa’lante in Colombia, CuéntaNos in northern Central America and InfoDigna in Mexico are all part of our global Signpost project with partners including Mercy Corps, Google, Microsoft, Twilio, Cisco, Tripadvisor and Box. The digital platform includes an interactive map that connects asylum seekers and other displaced people to shelters, health care providers and other services. An additional service, ImportaMi, serves unaccompanied children who recently arrived in the U.S. 

How can you help? 

Support theLet Asylum Seekers Work Campaign. 

Learn about more ways you can help support refugees and asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. 

Asylum seeking family and their bunny, Bonix
Asylum seeking family and their bunny, Bonix
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Feb 16, 2024
9 refugee-owned businesses to support in the U.S.

By Savannah Paolillo | Impact Report Services

Oct 23, 2023
How one Afghan family was reunited in the U.S.

By Savannah Paolillo | Donor Services

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Organization Information

International Rescue Committee

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RESCUEorg
Project Leader:
Savannah Paolillo
New York , NY United States
$22,369 raised of $50,000 goal
358 donations
$27,631 to go
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