HIAS Blog

Pew Poll on Jewish Americans Creates Space to Support Refugees

Posted by HIAS – DC on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

The findings from the Pew Research Center’s recent survey, A Portrait of Jewish Americans, have already sparked many discussions about what it means to be Jewish in America, whether or not we should be concerned by increasing rates of intermarriage and secularism, and the role that social justice plays in Jewish identity.

While there certainly is a rise in intermarriage and secularism in our community, 94% of U.S. Jews still say they are proud to be Jewish and 56%


Government Shutdown Leaves Refugees Stranded

Posted by HIAS – DC on Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 13:23 pm

As the government shutdown continues, refugee arrivals to the U.S. continue to be delayed, leaving thousands already scheduled for departure in limbo around the globe.

Larry Bartlett, Director of Refugee Admissions at the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), announced late last week that the refugee travel moratorium that initially cancelled refugee arrivals to the U.S. until October 21 has been extended until October 28.

While funding for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has not been impacted


HIAS Partners Awarded USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant

Posted by HIAS – NY on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 16:30 pm

A huge congrats to our long-time partners—Jewish Family Services of Western Massachusetts in Springfield and US Together in Columbus, Ohio—who were awarded Citizenship and Integration Grants by the Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Both HIAS affiliates participated in our first USCIS-funded citizenship capacity-building grant, which ran from October 2010 through September 2012. Through that grant they each developed the service capacity that enabled them to submit successful proposals to USCIS.

Under this USCIS program,


Reflecting on Plight of Refugees this High Holiday Season

Posted by HIAS – NY on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

As the global number of refugees continues to grow, Jewish communities from Berkeley to Budapest hold those unable to return home in their prayers this High Holiday season.

Rabbi Ferenc Raj, Rabbi Emeritus from Congregation Beth El in Berkeley and founder of Bet Orim Reform Jewish Congregation in Budapest, brought the refugee theme to his congregation this Yom Kippur—along with his very personal experience.

Born at the height of World War II in Budapest, Raj became a rabbi in Communist Hungary and


Providing a Haven to LGBTI Refugees

Posted by HIAS – NY on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 16:28 pm

Eight months after his arrival in the US, M., a 28-year-old gay Iraqi, shudders to think what would have happened to him if he hadn’t fled his country. “In Iraq people don’t like gay people. They are not accepted, they are oppressed. It is very difficult to come out to your family so most gay men live a double-life. If I hadn’t left, my life would have been miserable,” he explains.

M. participates in HIAS’ Preferred Communities Special Populations project, which


Moving Towards Refugee Inclusion in Ukraine

Posted by HIAS - Ukraine on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

This week HIAS Ukraine Director Aleksandr Galkin met with Valeria Lutkovska, the Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman), to discuss migration and asylum issues and enhancing collaboration between the Ombudsman Office and HIAS.

The meeting marks an important step towards collaboration between the Ombudsman and civil society. The representatives discussed detention of asylum seekers, extradition, legislation gaps, coordination of efforts of various relevant state agencies, and other acute problems faced by migrants in Ukraine.

"The cornerstone of a solution to the refugee


Advocating for Refugees in Immigration Reform Debate

Posted by HIAS – DC on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 17:49 pm

“Immigration reform” has become a buzzword in Washington—and all over the country. Broad coalitions of legislators, business leaders, students, law enforcement officials, faith leaders, farmworkers, and human rights activists have been urging for reforms to our outdated system. We recently saw a huge victory with passage of an immigration reform bill out of the U.S. Senate … but the fight is far from over and we are in it for the long haul.

As the Jewish nonprofit agency that protects refugees,


Kenya Court Vindicates the Rights and Dignity of Urban Refugees

Posted by Rachel Levitan on Thu, Aug 08, 2013 at 18:16 pm

In December 2012, the Kenyan government announced a troubling new policy: it intended to send the more than 100,000 refugees living in Nairobi and other cities into refugee camps. Around that time, Kenya’s big cities had been hit with a spate of bus bombs tied to Al Shaabab, a terrorist group based in neighboring Somalia. The government hoped that by sending the refugees—many of them Somali—into camps, that terrorist threat would disappear. But at what cost to the refugees themselves?

At


The Cinderblock Welcome

Posted by Allison Mandeville on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 13:46 pm

After passing through a metal detector and barbed wire fence, visitors to Delaney Hall Detention Facility are greeted by a white cinderblock wall splashed with the word “Welcome!” in Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and French. The detector, the fence, and the wall mark the start of each trip that HIAS’ “Know Your Rights” team makes to the Newark, New Jersey detention center. It is an ironic, and yet somehow fitting, set-up. While I would hardly describe the facility as “welcoming,” it


Jews and Hispanics Join Forces in House Immigration Fight

Posted by Emily Hecker on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 17:11 pm

The Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of Jewish and Hispanic members of the House of Representatives, recently introduced several principles that outline the group’s commitments on immigration reform. The caucus formed two years ago to address issues of mutual interest to the two groups, such as education and foreign policy (especially the U.S.’s relationship with Israel and Latin American countries).

The five principles they have committed to including in any immigration bill are:

  • A pathway


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