Immigration and Refugee Services of America (IRSA)

April B Salazar


Im/migrant Agency Report

In these brief reports, students respond to questions about the migration perspectives of an assigned Im/migrant agency or organization, based on their Internet research. These annotations will compile a resource list to serve as a guide for the class and others concerned with Im/migration issues.

A.    Title of agency or organization?

      Immigration and Refugee Services of America (IRSA)

B.     Where is home base (city/state/country)?

1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036 

C.     Date founded?

IRSA began formally resetting refugees in the United States in 1975. At that time, the vast majority of refugees arriving in the U.S. were fleeing war and persecution in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

D.    Names of key spokespersons/officers

LAVINIA LIMON = Executive Director

BOJAN BAJIC = Program Officer

Gregory Chen = Director of Policy Analysis and Research

Douglas Ford = Policy Analyst

Lisa Raffonelli = Policy Analyst

Veronika Martin = Policy Analyst


RAUL ZAHIR DE LEON = Program Assistant

SHANNON DENNETT = Director of National Programs


TRACEY GARNER  = A/P & Payroll Specialist

JUDY HARRIS  = IOM Senior Loan Collector

KATE HILTON-HAYWARD = Senior Program Officer

E.     What/who is key constituency or audience?

Immigrants and refuges

F.      What are the agency’s main activities?

1.        American literacy program

2.   IRSA's AmeriCorps Citizenship Initiative

3.      Somali Bantu Program

4.      Reception & Placement Program

5.      Medical Case Management

6.      Match Grant Program

7.      Preferred Communities Program

8.      Sudanese Yout

G.    Mission statement? (you may quote mission statement if available; use quotation marks)

IRSA's Mission

“The conflicts in our world today — horrifying civil wars, man-made famines, broad sweeps of ethnic fighting, genocide and other terrible reminders of human suffering — may seem insurmountable. For many there is a tendency to feel helpless.”

“Overcoming this sense of helplessness, providing real, workable solutions, and bringing hope and opportunity to the lives of thousands of refugees who are in crisis in today's world are at the very heart of every action undertaken by Immigration and Refugee Services of America.”

“Our mission is clear.    IRSA acts to defend human rights, build communities, foster education, promote self-sufficiency, and forge partnerships through an array of programs.

“While many bear witness to the horrors of our world's violence and refugee crises, there are many thousands of untold stories of the lives that are touched — every day of the year — because of the work of IRSA and our partners in the U.S.”

“Every year IRSA develops and manages education and assistance programs that help refugees resettle in the U.S. These programs help refugees recover from past trauma, gain personal independence and economic self-sufficiency, become contributing members of their new communities, and able participants in all aspects of American life.”

H.    What are the key im/migration issues of concern to this agency?

The key immigration issues of concern are working with refugees, helping refugees with social and emotional aspects of resettlement and helping refugees with special health needs.

I.       What appears to be the most common informational basis for statements issued, press releases, reports, etc.?

J.       Any publications? (what types, sample titles; if online, give links)

·         UNHCR: Refugee Statistics at the Start of 2001

K.    Give at least one citation of this agency in a newspaper article (preferably an Arizona newspaper). Use a citation index to research this e.g., Lexis Nexis, available from the Migration Course Web Page made by the Fletcher Library:  Provide a quote from the article that gives a good idea of this agency’s perspective on im/migration.  Note: not a quote from agency’s own web site.

Updated Action Alert on Harmful Asylum and Deportation Provisions of the 9-11 Recommendations Implementation Act.

L.     Is the agency noticeably pro or con immigration? (you may need to determine this from readings its position papers, press releases, news reports, etc)

The agency in pro immigration

M.   Web site? Give URL

By April B Salazar



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