On January 31, the Forward published a letter to the editor charging that “under Jewish law,” HIAS is in “no position to judge” Trump’s executive order banning refugees because the organization has a “profit motive” and receives “millions of dollars” to admit refugees.
The very next day, HIAS Board Chair Dianne Lob and HIAS CEO Mark Hetfield, published a letter in the Forward to help set the record straight.
The letter reads in part, “HIAS’ local resettlement sites receive $2,075 per refugee with which we must pay our staff and overhead while providing the refugee with transportation, a fully furnished apartment for three months, a kitchen stocked with food, English lessons and cultural orientation, a cash allowance, assistance with school enrollment, and job placement services. There is no profit; we rely heavily on local volunteers and donations on top of the basic funding provided by the government. And we receive this support for resettlement of refugees of all faiths.”
It continues, “an America that does not welcome refugees is not America, and the American Jewish community owes its very existence to this country’s tradition of welcoming refugees...HIAS used to rescue refugees because they were Jewish. Today we rescue refugees because we are Jewish. That is the only reason HIAS does what it does. Not for profit, but out of love and a commitment to our Jewish-American values.”
To read the full letter in the Forward, click here.