The HIAS Latin America office is the preeminent expert among Jewish organizations on immigration and resettlement issues throughout the continent. HIAS advises and consults in many events, meetings, and congresses held in Latin America among the leading Jewish organizations.
During the Argentine crisis in 2001, HIAS Latin America provided information and migration assistance to thousands of Jewish people who were interested in leaving Argentina and finding new homes in Jewish communities in other parts of the world. HIAS acted as liaison between the migrants and the communities planning to welcome them. With HIAS' support, hundreds of people migrated to countries such as Italy, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Spain, and Israel. Today, HIAS continues to advise Argentines and other Latin Americans on migration options.
HIAS, in cooperation with Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS), provides orientation and facilitates the migration process of Latin American Jews interested in living in Montreal and Winnipeg, Canada. So far, 273 people have migrated to those cities with the assistance of JIAS and HIAS.
Resettlement Program for Colombian Refugees in Argentina
Since Fall 2005, HIAS has coordinated a resettlement program in Argentina for Colombian refugees, working closely with the government of Argentina and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). HIAS has extensive experience with resettlement and a close familiarity with the Colombian refugee population due to its programs in Ecuador.
The HIAS office in Argentina procures housing and establishes conditions for a proper welcome for the refugees. Upon arrival, refugees are met by HIAS staff, shown their accommodations, and given an orientation to basic services and the local culture. The legal documentation that allows them to stay and work in Argentina is issued immediately by the Argentine authorities. Adults are informed about job market rules and work with the Jewish Argentina Mutual Association (AMIA) Labor Bureau to identify opportunities. In every city, refugee families are assisted by a teacher, a social worker, and a psychologist to facilitate a smoother integration process.
Already, 101 refugees have been resettled in Argentina. They are in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Rosario. All children are enrolled in school, and the majority of adults have integrated into the job market.