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Inside our advocacy

The IRC’s advocacy leverages our work on the ground and our expert knowledge informed by research and practice to ensure refugees and other displaced people have what they need not only to survive, but to rebuild and thrive in new communities. We mobilize to shift the agenda in the United States, Europe and around the globe on behalf of people affected by crisis.

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The IRC’s agenda for the Biden-Harris Administration

Drawing on its decades of experience responding to crises in over 40 countries and resettling refugees in 25 cities across the U.S., the IRC released a brief recommending nine actions for the Biden-Harris Administration to take in its first year. With these actions, the Administration and Congress can restore America’s reputation for protecting the most vulnerable and reset U.S. engagement abroad, reverse devastating and dangerous trends, and galvanize global efforts to save lives and restore stability in some of the world’s most volatile regions. The U.S. cannot resolve these challenges alone, but it is U.S. leadership that can spur others to share the burden, in its own as well as others’ interests.    

Recommended policies for the first year of Biden’s presidency include: 

  • Beat COVID abroad and at home by securing $20 billion for the global COVID response and sharing the U.S.’ estimated 235 million already-purchased excess COVID-19 vaccines with low-income countries through the COVAX facility. 
  • Coordinate urgent financial help to countries hosting the majority of the world’s refugees—like Jordan, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Colombia and Bangladesh—targeting assistance to improve the lives of 50 million of the most vulnerable, and leverage resources so that refugees have rights to work, go to school and transition from aid dependency to self-reliance.  
  • Immediately raise the Trump Administration’s FY21 refugee admissions level and commit to resettle 125,000 refugees to the United States in FY2022. Leverage the commitment to galvanize global commitments, which have tumbled 50% over the last 4 years. Just 4.5% of the world’s 1.4 million refugees in need of resettlement were resettled globally last year. 
  • Reverse inhumane asylum policies  and surge assistance to the U.S. border to provide emergency services to the 60,000 people at risk at the U.S.-Mexico border, reunite families and provide critical information services. Scale up alternatives to detention with community sponsorship and legal services.  
  • Increase by three-fold funding to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in fragile and refugee contexts to help achieve gender equality. Hold aid agencies and implementing partners accountable to basic GBV prevention measures. 
  • Lead the international fight against climate change, rejoining the Paris Agreement and developing solutions for the climate-driven displacement that will impact an additional 140 million “climate refugees” by 2050. 

An extended version of these nine recommendations, with detailed policy analysis, is available here. Addional reports focused on our recommendations can be found here.  

Promoting U.S. refugee resettlement and asylum

The U.S. has a long history of providing welcome to those needing safety. For decades, life-saving protection for refugees has been possible through the U.S. resettlement program and asylum. Today, we see these pathways to safety for those who have fled persecution and violence coming under attack, leaving some of the world’s most vulnerable people behind. Every day, our team is hard at work advocating for solutions for refugees, asylum seekers, asylees, Temporary Protected Status recipients, DREAMers and other marginalized people worldwide. Learn more about our work

Together with cofounders Refugees International and the International Refugee Assistance Project, we have also launched the Refugee Advocacy Lab to grow the diverse constituency for U.S. leadership on refugee protection. We do so by building partnerships, supporting inclusive policies, and developing communications products for the common good. 

Protecting and aiding civilians in conflict

In conflicts around the world, the targeting of civilians and their homes, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure has become routine. People are cut off from food, water and lifesaving assistance. The IRC advocates with global leaders for actions that uphold the laws of war, protect civilians in conflict, hold violators to account and allow humanitarian organizations to have greater access to people in need. Learn more about work

Transforming aid to meet changing needs

In 2018, less than 3 percent of refugees went home. The vast majority struggle to get by in countries unable to meet their needs. Most relief efforts are focused on food, shelter and basic health care—but refugees also require education and livelihoods opportunities if they are to rebuild their lives. The IRC strives for “better aid” that delivers assistance more effectively, efficiently and sustainably. Learn more about how we're working to modernize the global response to the refugee crisis and improve outcomes for people caught in crisis.

Responding to needs in the era of COVID-19

Protracted economic, political and security crises have rendered many countries ill-equipped to respond to COVID-19. Within these fragile contexts, refugees and people displaced by conflict and crisis will be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. An effective response to COVID-19 requires both global and local solutions. IRC’s advocacy aims to secure funding and operational flexibilities, promote best practices, and address specific threats to the needs of the communities we serve. Learn more about our work

Latest reports and resources


The IRC advocates for resettlement of the most vulnerable refugees, protection of rights to asylum, commitments to international humanitarian law, and appropriate financing and policy to respond to the evolving needs of people in crisis.