HIAS Blog

Learning from Immigration's Past

Posted by Rachel Zisman on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 17:03 pm

I recently had the opportunity to attend a preview of a new exhibit, “Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates” at the National Archives.  Through samples of government forms and photos, the exhibit demonstrates immigrants’ and refugees’ “attachments” to both their new homes and their respective countries of origin, as well as the long and conflicted history of immigration.

Attending a preview of a new exhibit is exciting in itself, but as I was walking around the cool, dark, gallery,


TRIG Doesn't Honor the Basic Principle that Families should Remain Together

Posted by Kiera Bloore on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 15:48 pm

One of the great things about my legal internship with HIAS is that it has put me back in touch with my Jewish roots.  Over the past several weeks, I have learned about the many challenges immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers face in this country, including prolonged separation from family.  Then, I realized that I did not know anything about how my own family immigrated to the United States.  I decided to call my Zadie (grandfather in


Xenophobic Violence against Asylum Seekers in Israel

Posted by Mark Hetfield on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 16:00 pm

From April through June 2012 a wave of xenophobia, fear and violence targeted at African migrants washed over much of Israel. This was not the first wave of anti-foreigner sentiment ever experienced in the country, but it was certainly the largest one in scope and severity. At the time of writing, it is not yet clear whether this wave is quite over.

There are approximately 60,000 unauthorized migrants in Israel, who have entered the country through its southern border with


Putting it in Perspective: A Look at IDPs

Posted by Thuy-Anh Vo on Tue, Jun 05, 2012 at 10:15 am

While interning at HIAS, I have had the opportunity to attend a number of events concerning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). An IDP is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders; there are currently about 27 million people who have been internally displaced by conflict. Even though IDPs are just like refugees, they do not fall under the current legal definition of a “refugee” because they are


Putting it in Perspective: Crossing Cultures

Posted by Thuy-Anh Vo on Tue, Jun 05, 2012 at 10:12 am

In March, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the 2012 HIAS Board of Directors and Young Leaders Advocacy Mission in Washington, DC. It was inspiring to see individuals who are passionate about the same issues get together to promote HIAS’ advocacy goals and to further educate the Washington policy community about HIAS’ work. It was also incredible to see the program come together after weeks of planning and finalizing details.

The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society is an


Putting it in Perspective: A Call to Advocacy

Posted by Thuy-Anh Vo on Mon, Jun 04, 2012 at 16:22 pm

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle." –MLK

 

If you had asked me what I thought I would be doing right now five years ago, I would never say that I would be studying in Washington DC, meeting important elected officials such as Supreme Court Justice Alito or Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith, interning at an immigration advocacy organization, doing my own Amerasian advocacy work, and attending a


Putting it in Perspective: The Promise of Passover

Posted by Jeremy Hiken on Mon, Jun 04, 2012 at 16:08 pm

Every year at our Passover Seders, we are supposed to “see ourselves as if we personally left Egypt.” Admittedly, it can be difficult for Jews today to connect with an event that took place millennia ago. Nonetheless, that does not mean that the Passover message is not relevant today. Take, for example, the plight of African refugees in Israel, many of whom were forced to flee their home countries as a result of religious and ethnic persecution.


Putting it in Perspective: Liberty and Justice for All?

Posted by Jeremy Hiken on Thu, May 03, 2012 at 16:54 pm

Last week, I had the chance to attend part of a 48-hour vigil leading up to an Interfaith Immigration Coalition rally held the same day as the Supreme Court heard arguments on SB 1070. The law, enacted in 2010, is an attempt to drive undocumented immigrants out of Arizona.


As a student living in DC, I have seen my fair share of protests over the past few years, but I have never been to one which brought


Putting it in Perspective: Partisan Fighters and American Policies

Posted by Jeremy Hiken on Thu, May 03, 2012 at 16:49 pm

The Holocaust is unquestionably one of the greatest tragedies both in Jewish and human history. Yet from its pain and destruction we hear stories of bravery and heroism. For example, the Bielski Otriad was formed by Tuvia Bielski, a Polish Jew who fled to the forest with his brothers after seeing his parents killed and his home destroyed. Not only did the group include fighters, but it also included children and the elderly. Under Bielski’s leadership,


Putting It In Perspective: The Child Tax Credit—Dignity for America's Children

Posted by Jeremy Hiken on Thu, May 03, 2012 at 16:07 pm

As a third-year college student in Washington, I see people on the street begging for money every day. While the majority of these people are individuals, impoverished families are not uncommon. It is of course hard to see individuals struggling to get by, but it is even harder to see children deprived of the opportunities I had growing up. As a result, I became interested in what is being done to help alleviate the dire situations of


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