Seasoned Immigration, Refugee Policy Expert Re-Joins HIAS Staff

Posted on Tue, Jun 06, 2006 at 14:49 pm

(New York City)– HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, has tapped Mark Hetfield to serve as senior vice president for policy and programs. Hetfield will oversee HIAS’ Washington, D.C., office as well as the organization’s domestic and international program operations. He was named to his new post by Gideon Aronoff, who became HIAS’ new president and CEO earlier this spring.

“ Mark Hetfield has been and will be an invaluable asset to HIAS,” says Aronoff. “His work with us in the past will serve as a great foundation for what he’ll be doing in his new job. We’re thrilled that he agreed to come back to HIAS.”

Before taking the new role at HIAS, Hetfield served as immigration counsel and director of international refugee issues for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), where he directed all aspects of the comprehensive study on the treatment of asylum seekers in the U.S. Hetfield was a contributing author and editor-in-chief of the 520-page study, which was well received by government officials, congress and the press, including front page coverage in the New York Times.

Hetfield also worked as an appeals officer and supervisory appeals officer with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in Washington D.C., where he supervised INS officers adjudicating appeals from decisions on applications for adjustment of immigration status. While at INS, he also served overseas as the assistant officer-in-charge of adjudicating refugee claims at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti.

Hetfield has had a long association with HIAS, beginning as a caseworker in Rome in 1989, where he utilized his Russian language skills in assisting nationals from the former Soviet Union. He later moved on to Washington, D.C., where he became HIAS’ Washington representative and attorney-advisor. While in this capacity he prepared and presented legal and policy positions on immigration and refugee matters to the White House and Congress, the INS, the Department of State, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Hetfield subsequently moved on to New York, where he became director of international operations at HIAS’ world headquarters. In that capacity he forged new partnerships with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and helped establish the first HIAS program in sub-Saharan Africa – the HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya. He also oversaw HIAS’ operations in Austria, Argentina, Israel, Russia, and Ukraine.

Hetfield received a JD degree cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He is a member of the state bars of New Jersey and Florida.