HIAS Launches National Center for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Services: HIAS Engages Local Partnerships Throughout the U.S. to Implement National Advocacy Campaigns

Posted on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 17:13 pm

(New York, NY) – HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, today launched the HIAS National Center for Refugee, Immigration and Integration Services (the "Center"). The Center, which will operate on a national level to assist and engage local organizations and Jewish communities that serve newcomers, is a testament to HIAS’ ongoing commitment to provide essential resettlement services to refugees and immigrants. It was introduced at the HIAS 2010 National Refugee Services Conference, an annual gathering of HIAS’ resettlement partners and affiliates from across the country, held this year in San Diego.

"Embedded deeply in our Jewish values is the duty to aid vulnerable individuals and communities," said Gideon Aronoff, President and CEO of HIAS. "The new HIAS Center will help local groups around the U.S. provide compassionate and welcoming environments for newcomers. The Center's mission is two-fold – to provide resources and technical support to our national network of immigrant and refugee service providers, and to ensure that HIAS' local partners – and the new Americans whom they serve – have a voice in Washington.

“Accordingly, the focus of the Center in its first year will be to advocate in Washington for fixes to our broken immigration and refugee resettlement systems,” added Aronoff.

The Center, which will unite HIAS’ service-oriented work in New York with its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC, will facilitate and enhance the mission of "rescue, resettlement and reunion" that HIAS has carried out since the organization’s founding in 1881. The Center will provide integrated advocacy, information, training, program development and program management services to local U.S. organizations that work with refugees, immigrants and other foreign-born populations throughout their various programs. By tapping into an in-house and external network of experts with specialized skills and knowledge, the Center will specifically cater to local groups by delivering tailored training and information, depending on their individual needs and interests.

Close working relationships with local Jewish communities and partner groups will allow HIAS advocacy staff to monitor emerging issues that require national attention by the Administration and Congress. HIAS’ longstanding reputation as a world leader in refugee support will amplify the voices of local partners in Washington and make the Center a ready source for mobilizing comprehensive immigration reform and resettlement advocacy on a national scale.

“We welcome and applaud HIAS’ leadership in opening the Center,” said Robert Marmor, Executive Director of the Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts. “This concerted and innovative approach will provide the much needed advocacy and representation for both refugees and our local agencies. The quality of life and opportunities for refugees and immigrants starting a new life in the United States will assuredly be improved.”

HIAS invites existing contacts and any Jewish, national or local service organization in need of assistance with immigration-related matters to contact the Center. The Center’s services for local groups are funded by government contracts, private foundations and fee-for-service arrangements.