February 03, 2017
In January 2016, the International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) connected Weil attorneys with a transgender woman in Jordan. She was a prisoner in her family’s home, in constant fear for her life. Her family had repeatedly abused her and her brother threatened to kill her on a regular basis. Her family refused to let her go out in public because, in their eyes, she brought shame to her family, and she was unable to find housing and employment away from her family due to pervasive discrimination against LGBTI individuals in Jordan.
Because she could not flee from her family’s home, let alone Jordan, Weil had to petition the U.S. Embassy in Jordan to refer her to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program under Priority 1, a tool for otherwise eligible refugees to apply for resettlement from within their current country. Weil’s petition succeeded and she was approved for refugee resettlement in the United States. This week, after a ten-hour flight and three hours of additional screening at JFK, she arrived to the United States and continued on to her final destination in Massachusetts, where she will start the next chapter of her life.
The team included Weil partner Robert Lemons and associate Evan Miller with assistance from law students in IRAP’s Fordham Law School chapter. Weil has many teams of attorneys working with students from various law schools to assist the International Refugee Assistance Program (formerly the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Program) in its mission to provide comprehensive legal representation to individual refugees seeking resettlement. IRAP has successfully resettled more than 3,000 refugees facing life-and-death situations. They include Iraqis and Afghans who are at risk because of their work as interpreters with the U.S. military, as well as children with medical emergencies, women who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and survivors of torture.