Immigration Bill Nears Finish Line—and Success

Posted by Mark Hetfield on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 15:23 pm

Good news from the Senate Judiciary Committee: Last night, the Senate Judiciary Committee finished its mark-up of the Refugee and Asylum provisions of S. 744—the Gang of 8's Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill.

In spite of an arsenal of amendments submitted by Senator Grassley (R-IA), which would have stricken most of the good refugee and asylum provisions from S. 744, the refugee and asylum provisions emerged from the mark-up largely unscathed. Most importantly for HIAS, Section 3403—the provision that we

HIAS' Statement at PRM's Public Hearing on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

Posted by HIAS – NY on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 18:51 pm

Below is the text of Mark Hetfield’s speech, presented at the State Department as part of an annual forum at which stakeholders and the public submit comments, suggestions, and concerns about the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.



Digging Into Cultural Acculturation at HIAS—National Refugee Resettlement Conference

Posted by Jessica Palumbo on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 10:57 am

Day Two of HIAS’ National Refugee Resettlement Conference: resettlement professionals from around the country gathered for a series of in-depth sessions on facilitating acculturation and true liberty for newcomers in America.

What are some of the technical aspects of aiding refugees through their first weeks in a new country? Big topics of the day: cultural orientation, protection gaps facing minorities in regard to gender identity or sexual orientation, and medical and mental health case management on the eve of the Affordable

HIAS' National Refugee Resettlement Conference Gives Professionals New Tools for Success

Posted by Jessica Palumbo on Thu, May 09, 2013 at 11:15 am

Three days. Twenty sessions. Fifty speakers. Seventy people representing 14 states. Urns and urns of coffee.

This is the annual HIAS National Resettlement Conference, a veritable boot camp for refugee resettlement workers who prepare for, receive, and facilitate integration of the nearly 3,500 refugees HIAS affiliates resettle across the country each year. This year, participants have gathered in Philadelphia—birthplace to the systemization of American liberty—to learn about programmatic updates from resettlement partners in the U.S. government as well as strategies to

The Ultimate Legacy: Senator Lautenberg and Continued Protection for Iranian Religious Minorities

Posted by Shaina Ward on Wed, May 08, 2013 at 19:16 pm

“More than twenty years ago, I created this program to allow religious minorities to escape persecution and live safely in the United States.” That is what Senator Lautenberg said about the Lautenberg Amendment after an extension and expansion of the program was included in the Senate’s immigration reform bill S. 744, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, introduced on April 17, 2013. “Expanding the Lautenberg Amendment will allow this critical lifeline to provide additional groups of persecuted

Power of Attorney: Training Israeli lawyers in refugee and asylum law

Posted by Sivan Carmel on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 16:17 pm

The Israeli asylum system and the status of asylum seekers are the subject of an increasing rate of litigation in Israel. The rapidly growing number of legal proceedings is, in turn, contributing to the development of a nascent, but significant, area of law in Israel.

At HIAS Israel we follow this evolution with keen interest. We recognize the critical role that legal representation plays in the lives of individual asylum seekers, but at the same time we believe that increased legal

New UNHCR Legal Guidelines Step Forward for LGBTI Refugees

Posted by Rachel Levitan on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

This year’s historic election-day wins in Maryland, Maine, and Washington supporting gay marriage are emblematic of the dramatic strides that the U.S. has taken to recognize the social and legal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. Parallel to this domestic progress, the US government has publicly supported the rights of sexual minorities internationally. In December, the White House released a presidential memo directing all agencies engaged abroad to “ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign

Hurricane Sandy Relief: New York Opportunities

Posted by Mark Hetfield on Thu, Nov 08, 2012 at 14:23 pm

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there still are thousands of people without heat, water, or electricity, many from the Russian-speaking, Jewish communities in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey. There is a desperate need for donations, supplies, and volunteers. Below are some ways you can assist with Hurricane Sandy Relief in the New York area.

UJA Federation of New York

HIAS Symposium on LGBTI Refugees Held in Geneva

Posted by Genever McBain on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

At a September 20-21, 2012 HIAS symposium in Geneva on the work and research of HIAS and other agencies striving to protect refugees who are members of sexual minorities, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Director of the Division of International Protection, Volker Turk, gave a groundbreaking address highlighting the challenges faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) refugees. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador David Robinson of the Bureau of Population,

Everyone Loses if VAWA Isn't Finished

Posted by Kiera Bloore on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 11:59 am

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 (VAWA), H.R. 4970, a bill which severely undermines the protections available to survivors of violence and places victims at further risk of harm. However, the Senate bill, S. 1925, represents the spirit of the "real VAWA" which protects all victims of violence and maintains programs and services to serve victims and make our communities safer. Congress needs to act immediately to pass

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