Our Washington, D.C. office advances HIAS’ refugee and immigrant protection agenda by educating Washington policy makers on issues concerning both Jewish migrants and the broader immigrant and refugee community.
Posted on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 16:50 pm
Earlier today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security held a hearing entitled “Asylum Fraud: Abusing America’s Compassion?“ Expert witnesses included Louis Crocetti, Principal of Immigration Integrity Group, LLC and former Chief of USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate; Jan Ting of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law; Hipolito Acosta, former District Director of USCIS in Houston and INS in Mexico City; and Eleanor Acer, Director of Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle seemed to agree with panelists that fraudulent asylum claims hurt the cases of legitimate asylum seekers who deserve protection in the U.S. In a statement submitted for the official record, HIAS called for reforms to the U.S. asylum system that would protect bona fide refugees.
Posted on Fri, Feb 07, 2014 at 16:47 pm
Earlier this week, discretionary exemptions from the terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds (TRIG) were issued by Secretary Jeh Johnson of the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary John Kerry of the State Department. HIAS applauded these exemptions, which are a step towards fairness after legislation enacted by Congress in 2001 significantly broadened the definition of “terrorist activity” to encompass some activities that had no real-life connection to terrorism. The exemptions are likely to remove legal obstacles for some particularly vulnerable Syrian refugees, including women and children, as well as persons previously granted asylum or refugee status whose later applications for permanent residency or family reunification have been held up for years, however this will not completely resolve the problem. Learn more about how broad terrorism policies unfairly target victims by reading recent articles in The Hill and the New York Times.
Posted on Thu, Feb 06, 2014 at 16:45 pm
Today, HIAS joined Jewish colleagues from around the country for the fourth annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. Participants used the opportunity as part of Jewish Disability Awareness Month to urge Congress to co-sponsor and pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647), which would allow families and those with disabilities to save private funds to support their health, independence, and quality of life, and to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international disability treaty inspired by US leadership in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities.
Posted on Tue, Feb 04, 2014 at 16:45 pm
Earlier today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised form N-400, Application for Naturalization, which includes significant changes to the application’s content and format. The new form has more than doubled in length to 21 pages, including several additional questions related to the applicant’s links to terrorist groups, genocide, militias, prisons, and military training (see recent Washington Post article). USCIS will accept the older version of the N-400 form until May 5th, 2014.
Posted on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 16:37 pm
House Republican leadership recently released a document entitled “GOP Principles on Immigration Reform,” providing a general outline of standards regarding border security, interior enforcement, reforms to the legal immigration system, and a way to address the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. Several Jewish organizations—including HIAS—welcomed the principles as “an important first step towards addressing the broken U.S. immigration system,” and many members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition also released statements on the issue.
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