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Statements & Press Releases
"We’re very pleased to see an end of year spending bill that does not needlessly attack the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which offers hope to victims of violence and persecution stuck in situations that are truly untenable. In the past few months, thousands of Americans have called their representatives to express their support for refugees, and I think today we are seeing the result of that grassroots support. Hopefully, this is a sign that 2016 will be a more welcoming year.”
As Congress seeks to halt the United States’ proud tradition of resettling the world’s most vulnerable refugees, and to create hostile local environments for refugees already resettled in America, members of the Jewish community are making their voices heard. Today, HIAS released a national rabbinic letter in support of welcoming refugees, which was signed by more than 1000 rabbis from around the country.
“For decades, the United States has been a leader in refugee protection and a beacon of hope for persecuted peoples. Yet today, the House voted on legislation that would effectively shut the refugee program down indefinitely for Syrians and Iraqis while a new bureaucratic procedure is put into place," said Melanie Nezer, vice president for policy & advocacy at HIAS.
New policy will include same-sex life partners among family members eligible for family reunion under the U.S. Refugee Admissions program. HIAS CEO and President Mark Hetfield welcomed news of the reform -- a change HIAS has been urging for years.
"Since World War II, the U.S. has been an example to the rest of the world and has been a leader in both providing humanitarian assistance and in resettling the most vulnerable refugees from around the world. It’s a legacy we can be proud of — and one we must build on now, during this crisis, if we intend to continue to set the model we hope others will follow.”
HIAS CEO and President Mark Hetfield responds to Secretary Kerry’s announcement that the United States would accept 85,000 refugees next year, saying "Syrian refugees and the refugee hosting countries in the world need one giant leap from the United States, and instead they are getting one small step."
“We are dealing with a global humanitarian crisis to which the entire world must respond. If Germany can open its doors to 800,000 asylum seekers, the U.S., with a population four times the size of Germany’s and a history as a nation of immigrants and refugees, can take 100,000,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield.
The Union for Reform Judaism, the North American Reform Jewish movement, the largest movement in Jewish life today and HIAS, the 130 year old global refugee agency of the American Jewish community, are urging the Israeli government to re-examine its asylum policy. They were joined by IMPJ, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism.
HIAS welcomes the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that women who establish they fear persecution in their home countries and are therefore eligible to apply for asylum will no longer be held in detention with their children.
HIAS urges members of Congress to support the Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act, and thanks Congressman Keith Ellison for introducing this thoughtful, practical, and much needed legislation.