HIAS Blog

Putting it in Perspective: Arab Spring Leaves Some Cold

Posted by Ilanit Sisso on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I followed the news closely as uprisings across the Arab world began in 2011. Image after image showed Muslims and non-Muslims standing together demanding freedom from totalitarian regimes. In Egypt, the Arab Spring resulted in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak after almost 30 years of power. Just six months later, Mubarak stood trial and was charged with corruption and complicity in the killing of protestors. This brought hope to many across Egypt who had never dreamed


Putting it in Perspective: Investing in the American Dream

Posted by Rachel Horn on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 9:52 am

Earlier this year, Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was one of the featured speakers at the Urban Institute Forum on “Immigration and the Changing Face of Metropolitan America.” Throughout the event, Cisneros and the other speakers discussed demographic changes to the current decade’s immigrant population. Overall, the population in the United States is getting older overall, and that the only segment of the population adding to the youth (who will one day support


Putting it in Perspective: To What Were We Blind?

Posted by Ilanit Sisso on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 15:58 pm

This year during Yom Kippur services the phrase that resonated with me the most was when the Rabbi asked: “To what were we blind to this year?” I reflected on this question for weeks. Was I “blind” to a friend when they needed my help? Was I “blind” to a family member trying to reach out to me? Was I “blind” to a stranger who was treated unfairly?


Many of us (including myself) have been “blind” to


Putting it in Perspective: A World Class Education for Resettled Refugees in the U.S.

Posted by Jenny Fernandez on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 14:05 pm

I was recently accepted to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, for my fall semester. As a study abroad student, I worry about getting my student visa, obtaining my course equivalency list so that I get credit for my classes, and adjusting to the initial culture shock of being in a new country. My situation is temporary, as I will only be there for six months. However, refugees who are lucky enough to be resettled in the United


USA for UNHCR Gala Trains Spotlight Squarely on Refugees

Posted by Roberta Elliott on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 15:15 pm

ABC Nightline correspondent Juju Chang and Eugenie Mukeshimana, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and founder of Genocide Survivors Support Network

If an invitation to a gala stipulates “global chic” as the preferred dress, you know you’re in for a good time… And that was


Max-imum HIAS

Posted by Pam Zimmerman on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Peter Max and HIAS go way back, he tells me. “I’ve known HIAS ever since I was a child,” he explains. We’re at the HIAS Emma Lazarus Society Reception in his Upper West Side studio. There’s a jazz-fusion-funk soundtrack punctuating the evening. Guests are laughing, trays of bruchetta are wandering, and the art on the walls is vibrating.

In an Upper West Side loft, more than a hundred HIAS fans and supporters are celebrating the 130-year history of an organization that


Putting it in Perspective: Former Refugees Living in the United States

Posted by Ilanit Sisso on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 14:22 pm

What does a Sudanese supermodel, an Afghan journalist, a Soviet lawyer, a Vietnamese member of the United States House of Representatives, a young Yemeni student, and a Polish Holocaust survivor have in common? They are all proud Americans and former refugees.

On August 3-4, 2011, I attended the first ever Refugee Congress in Washington, DC. Sixty former refugees representing six decades gathered in our nation’s capitol to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Convention Relating to the


Putting it in Perspective: Sharing stories of refuge

Posted by Susannah Glick on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

The hardships and struggles faced by refugees never fully resonated with me until this past August, when I attended UNHCR’s first-ever Refugee Congress. During this event, I had the privilege of meeting remarkable refugees who, despite their difficult pasts, are the most inspiring individuals I have ever met.


The Refugee Congress united 60 refugees and asylees, ten for each decade of international refugee protection. From Maine to California, refugees and asylees of all backgrounds and origins came together in Washington,


A Small Victory for an East African Asylum Seeker

Posted by Bethany Orlikowski on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

With HIAS’ help, a dedicated pro bono attorney, and a strong commitment from the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a woman from East Africa was able to continue receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, her only financial lifeline preventing her from falling into destitution.

SSI provides a modest stipend of approximately $674 per month to elderly or disabled persons who are unable to support themselves. After a 2008 extension expired on September 30th, refugees and


Putting it in Perspective: Our Broken Immigration System and the 2012 Elections

Posted by Ilanit Sisso on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

With concerns about the current state of the economy, healthcare, and the low unemployment rates, why should our presidential candidates care about immigration reform? Aside from the economic benefits that would flow from comprehensive immigration reform (there is wide consensus that it would boost America’s GDP, decrease unemployment rates, and increase the country’s revenue), there are two other reasons:

First, presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle should care about immigration reform for basic ethical reasons. There are over


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