Mark Doss

  • Hosted by International Refugee Assistance Project
  • Sponsored by ALM
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Domestic Violence, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2014
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Mark provided refugee resettlement legal services to Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) refugees and asylees who were survivors of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is rampant in MENA refugee communities. The violence persists, and even increases, when refugees resettle in the United States. Refugees who face domestic violence often feel helpless because they have poor English skills or do not know what resources will be available to them if they leave their spouse. As survivors of trauma, refugees and asylees often have complex legal, mental, and social issues that are exacerbated by domestic violence. Mark’s project provided much-needed legal representation to this vulnerable population. It will also work to end the cycle of violence by educating perpetrators of domestic violence about the legal and social consequences of their actions.

Fellowship Highlights

During his Fellowship, Mark:

  • Provided advice, brief legal services, or full direct representation to over 300 refugees fleeing persecution and violence
  • Identified gaps in the refugee resettlement system for survivors of domestic violence who have been denied based on their partner’s status as the principal applicant and successfully reopened their cases
  • Conducted trainings for numerous law schools, law firms, and corporations on refugee law and providing trauma-informed representation

Next Steps

Following his Fellowship, Mark continues to:

  • Provide refugee resettlement legal services to survivors of domestic violence in the MENA region at IRAP
  • Conduct trainings for lawyers and law students to create a bar of attorneys and future attorneys who are qualified to handle refugee resettlement cases for survivors of domestic violence
  • Advocate for systemic changes to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to ensure that the most vulnerable individuals refugees are quickly processed and vetted so they can be resettled to safety in the United States in a timely manner


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