U.S. Border Response

The Biden administration continues to undo the damage done to the immigration system, but the changes will take time. Gradually ending the Migrant Protection Protocols — or MPP, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program — is a top priority. Many elements of the Biden administration’s plan mirror recommendations made in HIAS’ “Roadmap to Recovery” report on ending MPP, including prioritizing vulnerable asylum seekers and processing family units together. HIAS is working closely with UNHCR to help those in MPP gain entry to the U.S. We are providing extensive community education to asylum seekers waiting in Mexico, including “Know Your Rights” presentations and remote meetings with experienced asylum attorneys.

  • HIAS has seven offices in Mexico in Juarez, Matamoros, Mexicali, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tijuana. We  are providing people with legal services and information  including legal assistance for asylum in the U.S. and Mexico, legal representation to stay in Mexico, and Know Your Rights workshops  and mental health services and gender-based violence prevention as well. We also provide legal services in Matamoros. HIAS works with partners on the U.S. side of the border for true cross-border collaboration. 
     
  • HIAS is proud to have placed Border Fellows in 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 Diego, and three fellows are working with partners in El Paso, Texas: Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, and the El Paso Immigration Collaborative (EPIC); and one fellow is working with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) in Brownsville, Texas.
     
  • Given the evolving situation regarding COVID-19, for the safety of our staff and volunteers, HIAS has suspended all in-person client meetings and all non-essential travel, including delegations to the border. We are however still actively recruiting volunteers to help asylum seekers remotelySpanish-speaking individuals can volunteer remotely to support HIAS' Border Response Team in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, providing services to asylum seekers. Find out more and sign up hereIf you are a lawyer and interested in helping, you can offer your legal services doing remote pro bono representation of asylum seekers at the border. Please see our Pro Bono page where you can sign up for our monthly orientation and for more information.
     
  • Helpful Resources:
    Know Your Rights
    video for people in the MPP program: SpanishPortuguese
    Mam (Indigenous Guatemalan language)K’iche/Quiché (Indigenous Guatemalan language) 
    Information in Spanish about the Prompt Asylum Claim Review (PACR) and Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) programs

  • 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. Read about an action here to deliver a letter signed by 1,200 Jewish clergy in support of the rights, dignity, and safety of asylum seekers.

Find out about ways to take action for refugees and asylum seekers here

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


 

An Important Step Forward in Undoing MPP

Feb 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Today, at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego, asylum seekers will finally begin to receive the justice and due process they have been denied for two years. 

A small group of asylum seekers affected by the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP, will be the first people...

Family Separation, Three Years On

Jan 29, 2021

Jacob Soboroff, NBC News and MSNBC correspondent and bestselling author, and Sue Kenney-Pfalzer, HIAS’ director for the Border and Asylum Network, discussed the current state of the family separation crisis, the impact it has had, and how organizations like HIAS are using our national legal and asylum networks to fight back.

Hard Work Ahead to Repair Broken U.S. Asylum System

Jan 21, 2021

As the Biden administration prepares to undo the damage done to the immigration system, it will be under pressure to work quickly but it will be hampered by complex issues regarding asylum policies and regulations.

Roadmap to Recovery

Jan 13, 2021

For years, the U.S. government allowed individuals applying for asylum to physically remain in the United States while their cases were adjudicated.

2020 Year In Review: A Global Pandemic Met with Resilience

Dec 22, 2020

2020 will undoubtedly be a year that many people will want to forget. But despite the unparalleled challenges of 2020, HIAS has been able to not only pivot to online programs and services but actually extend its reach to more clients. HIAS helped more than 1.17 million people this year, the highest number in the organization’s history.

Seeking Asylum, Saving a Baby

Nov 06, 2020

Lina and Hank, asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico, needed to go to the U.S. for their baby's birth which required surgery not available in Mexico.

The Sidewalk School: An Education for Those “Without”

Oct 22, 2020

At the Sidewalk School, the students are all asylum-seeking children living in or near an encampment in Matamoros, Mexico.

Witnesses at the Border

Led by HIAS and the Anti-Defamation League, 27 leaders from 17 national Jewish organizations traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to get a firsthand look at the crisis affecting families, asylum seek

Asylum, An Essential Lifeline

Asylum is in the news a lot these days. Borders closed, children forcibly separated from parents, people detained in cages.

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