The mission of IRIS is to enable refugees and other displaced people to establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities. Refugees are men, women and children who fled their countries of origin due to persecution on the basis of their race, nationality, religious belief, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
According to international law, refugees are those who have a "well-founded fear of persecution" and are unable to return to their countries without risking violence to themselves and their families, including torture and death. They are granted special immigration status according to international law. Each year the U.S. government invites a small number of them--74,000 in 2011--to start new lives, or "resettle," in this country. The front-line work of resettlement is done by local agencies like IRIS. IRIS works intensively with refugees, particularly during the first year of their resettlement, to help them build lives of their own choosing in the U.S. IRIS also serves the larger immigrant community through its Food Pantry and Immigration Legal Services. Through outreach, advocacy, and public events, IRIS educates the community about the refugee experience and issues of national and international importance that touch all of our lives.
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