Need Legal Aid Help? Get Started

Help For Refugees

Posted December 16, 2018
4:22 pm

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

IRAP provides refugees with free legal representation throughout the resettlement process.  IRAP also provides refugees with guides that outline their rights and explain current issues that can affect them such as the travel ban. IRAP provides the guide in various languages, such as Arabic, Farsi, and Somali.  These resources are available at

IRAP has offices in many countries. If refugees have a family member in another country that is at risk of violence, they can look for an IRAP office to help them explore legal options. If refugees have a family member whose refugee application has been denied by the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), IRAP provides a Request for Review Self-Help Guide at This guide describes what happens after an application is denied, and explains how to request another review of the refugee application.

IRAP is not a part of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the International Organization for Migration (IOM) so IRAP cannot grant refugee status, issue visas, or speed up cases.

Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), Catholic Charities

MRS resettles approximately 230 refugees annually and helps them with adapting to a new country by providing English language classes and assistance with finding employment.

Four levels of English classes are taught at Cuyahoga County Community College. Participants are encouraged to start at elementary levels if they had no previous exposure to the language. The English language training is supplemented by English tutoring groups, population-specific cultural orientation groups, parenting classes, and nutrition and pharmacy classes. MRS also provides vocational classes aimed at training refugees on specific trade jobs, including sewing and computer training. All of these classes are free for refugees.

In northeast Ohio, contact IRAP via Email at or MRS at 216-281-7005.  Some immigrant victims of violence may be eligible for help from Legal Aid and can call 888.817.3777 to apply.

This article was written by Eman Haj Alkhdair and Lisa Splawinski and appeared in The Alert: Volume 34, Issue 2