During a COVID-19 Summer, 2L Brad Wanken Worked with the International Rescue Committee in Boise to Secure Settlement for Refugees
August 11, 2020
Second-year law student Brad Wanken spent his summer working globally from home with the immigration team at the International Rescue Committee in Boise. The IRC is a one of a handful of refugee placement organizations in the US, working to settle clients from all over the world.
The difficulty in these cases is that often these documents are not available, whether they were lost when fleeing from their homes, destroyed by war or natural disaster or were never issued because of a lack of government. Brad’s role was to research the local laws, mostly in Africa or East Asia, and provide sufficient evidence to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to prove refugees’ family ties. For their family to join them in the US, immigration requires proof of their relationship through government documentation such as birth or marriage certificates.
“My main focus was in family reunification where I worked with clients here in the US, petitioning to bring their family from overseas,” said Brad. “It felt great being able to help these clients because for much of their lives, family was the only thing that they had, and through the process of family reunification we hope that clients can be together again.”
Although the work of refugee resettlement is a global task, the IRC in Boise shines in their work to build a stronger local community. When families are brought together, they are better able to support themselves financially and emotionally.
“Brad has done an amazing job this summer researching international law and helping our refugee clients track down needed documents for family reunification, for example, when clients are petitioning for children they were separated from,” said Kristin Ruether, immigration attorney at IRC. “He doesn't give up until he finds the answer and then he coaches our clients on the rest of the process. Our clients love him because of his patience and kindness."
The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and immigrants seeking citizenship to thrive in America.
“I had a great summer working with the talented and compassionate immigration team at IRC, had the opportunity to work with clients from all over the world and listened to the stories of their lives,” said Brad. “I had a challenging and productive summer, learning about US immigration law, the work of various NGOs and the civil code of numerous foreign governments and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the US into safety and freedom. In Boise and other offices across the country, the IRC helps these individuals to rebuild their lives and responds to emerging crises, such as the COVID-19 global pandemic. The IRC continues to assist families with housing stability, employment services, digital access and language-accessible, health and safety information on COVID-19.