Border Response

Migrants walk towards El Chaparral port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico, on the border with the United States, June 21, 2018. (GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)We continue to see the devastating effects of current U.S. immigration policy. Many people attempting to legally seek asylum as they enter the U.S. at our southern border are being treated as criminals and thousands of families have been torn apart. 

 

How HIAS Is Responding:

  • We have launched an emergency response program to ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal representation. Legal representation can have a huge impact on asylum seekers’ ability to be released from detention and be reunited with their children.
     
  • HIAS is proud to have placed Border Fellows in three non-profit legal organizations along the southern border to increase their capacity to provide legal representation to asylum seekers in and out of detention. One fellow is working out of our affiliate, JFS San Diegoand two other fellows are working with new partners in El Paso: Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services.
     
  • HIAS is organizing small groups of volunteers to travel to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (across from El Paso, TX), on a rolling basis, for three to five day periods, to fill an urgent need. If you are interested in volunteering and speak Spanish, please fill out the interest form and we will contact you based on your responses and our needs.
  • If you are interested in joining a future HIAS-led pro bono attorney delegation to the border, please fill out the interest form and we will contact you when the next trip is planned.
  • Since 2018 HIAS has organized a variety of border delegations to assist asylum seekers. In March 2019, more than 20 rabbis, cantors, and activists spent three days at the border on a human rights delegation led by HIAS and T’ruah, the rabbinic human rights organization. In April and May 2019, several delegations of pro bono attorneys traveled to the border to provide legal services and build on the work being done by the HIAS Border Fellows. 
  • We continue to mobilize the Jewish community to be a strong, persistent moral voice in support of fair, humane treatment of asylum seekers and we engage in asylum advocacy in Washington, seeking the reversal of the Administration’s zero-tolerance policy. Read about a recent action here.
     
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and HIAS are working together to provide representation to forcibly separated immigrant and refugee families who have come to the United States seeking safety. Read about a recent action here. 

Click here to see how you can help asylum seekers now.

 

See the stories below for how HIAS has been working to help asylum seekers at the border since the crisis started.


 

Interview: Naomi Steinberg on Changing U.S. Refugee and Asylum Policy

Aug 13, 2019

HIAS Vice President for Policy and Advocacy Naomi Steinberg shares her perspective on changing US immigration policies amid the current massive global refugee crisis.

WATCH: Melanie Nezer's TED Talk on Why Asylum is a Fundamental Right

Jul 30, 2019

HIAS Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Melanie Nezer shares an urgently needed historical perspective on the crisis at the southern U.S. border.

Update: More Than 1500 Jewish Clergy Sign Petition to Protect Asylum

Jul 23, 2019

More than 1400 Jewish clergy members signed a petition calling on elected officials to protect the legal right to seek asylum in the U.S., and on July 18, a delegation of rabbis, attorneys, and advocates went to Capitol Hill to deliver it to key members of Congress.

WATCH: A Day in the Life of HIAS Border Fellow Luis Gonzalez

Jul 17, 2019

Watch “A Day in the Life of HIAS Border Fellow Luis Gonzalez” to see what making a difference looks like firsthand.
Asylum video screenshot

WATCH: Asylum, An Essential Lifeline

Jun 25, 2019

Asylum is in the news a lot these days. Borders closed, children forcibly separated from parents, people detained in cages. Yet, many of us still don’t know what asylum really means and how it works. Watch our new video to learn more.

On Their Own Time, Lawyers Helping at the Border

May 21, 2019

HIAS-led delegations of pro bono attorneys travel to the border to provide additional legal services and build on the work being done by the HIAS Border Fellows

Border Fellow Helps Those Seeking a "Glimmer of Hope"

Apr 09, 2019

Nicolas Palazzo is the new HIAS Border Fellow working in El Paso, Texas.

Jewish Clergy at U.S.-Mexico Border Examine Human Rights Issues

Apr 02, 2019

Last week more than 20 rabbis, cantors, and activists went to the U.S. -Mexico border in a human rights delegation led by HIAS and T’ruah, the rabbinic human rights organization.

Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen Testifies on Border Security

Mar 06, 2019

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen today defended the Trump Administration’s declaration of a national emergency at the Southern border and asked for changes in laws regarding the process of asylum seekers into the United States.

Pro Bono Trip Helps Fathers and Sons Detained at the Border

Jan 11, 2019

HIAS led another delegation of staff and volunteers to the U.S.-Mexico border to provide legal services to asylum seekers.

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