U.S. Border Response

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:

  • HIAS has now opened four offices in Mexico in Juarez, Monterrey, Tijuana, and Mexicali. 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. In particular, HIAS helps to obtain legal representation in the U.S. for asylum seekers stuck in Mexico under the Remain in Mexico policy.
     
  • We have launched an emergency response program to ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal representation. HIAS is proud to have placed Border Fellows in six non-profit legal organizations along the southern border to increase their capacity to provide legal representation to asylum seekers in and out of detention. Two fellows are 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. 
     
  • Since 2018 HIAS has organized a variety of border delegations to assist asylum seekers. There have been human rights delegations and regular delegations of pro bono attorneys have traveled to the border to provide legal services and build on the work being done by the HIAS Border Fellows. 
     
  • HIAS works with partner agencies to create videos for asylum seekers in an effort to better inform them of current U.S. programs and ensure that they understand their rights.

    Know Your Rights Video for people in the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program:

    Spanish

    Portuguese 

    Mam (Indigenous Guatemalan language)

    K’iche/Quiché (Indigenous Guatemalan language)

  • Information about the Prompt Asylum Claim Review (PACR) and Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) programs:

    Spanish

  • 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. More than 500 HIAS supporters joined 60+ meetings with Members of Congress at their district offices. 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.
     
  • 150+ Jewish leaders traveled on witnessing delegations to the border with HIAS, to better understand the complexities and injustices of the U.S. asylum system, and to equip them with the knowledge and tools to be effective moral leaders. The trips were co-sponsored by Jewish partner organizations such as T'ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Anti-Defamation League, and the Jewish Funders Network.
     
  • 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.

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.


 

Marking El Paso Shooting Anniversary, Continuing Work for Survivors

Aug 03, 2020

The mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart exactly one year ago was the deadliest act of terror against the Latino community in modern American history. HIAS continues to work on behalf of some of those directly affected by the murders.

Opinion: We Could be Witnessing the End of Asylum

Jul 14, 2020

We can’t let the American tradition of asylum die on our watch.

Continuing the Hard Legal Work in a Time of Limbo

May 26, 2020

The U.S.-Mexico border is effectively closed and the asylum system has ground to a halt, but there is still plenty of work to do on behalf of asylum seekers.
Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court

COVID-19 Shows The Need For Strong Refugee Advocacy

May 20, 2020

From border policies to stimulus payments, HIAS is working to secure the rights and needs of refugees amid the pandemic.

A Global Perspective on the Modern Perils of Seeking Asylum

May 05, 2020

The international human rights system is fragile—HIAS will continue to represent, advocate, and litigate for something better and more rights-compliant.

Asylum Seekers Fear Staying in Mexico More Than Coronavirus

Apr 02, 2020

As countries around the world close borders and implement restrictions in response to coronavirus, asylum seekers are waiting even longer to access courts and other protections guaranteed by law.

HIAS' Pro Bono Program Adapts to Life With COVID-19

Mar 27, 2020

Thanks to the generosity of our pro bono attorneys and our resilient staff in our HIAS office in Mexico, we continue to serve clients remotely.
MPP Video

HIAS Video Helps Asylum Seekers Know Their Rights

Feb 12, 2020

HIAS, along with the Catholic Legal Immigiration Network (CLINIC) and the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham University, has created a comprehensive “Know Your Rights” video for asylum seekers.
Austin, TX Jews for Refugees Assembly, Feb. 2, 2020

Austin Assembly Rallies Support For Asylum Seekers

Feb 04, 2020

The Austin Jews for Refugees Assembly brought the Austin Jewish community together with elected officials and more than 35 local organizations.

Laptops and Lawyers Can Help Asylum Seekers in Mexico

Jan 16, 2020

HIAS joined a pilot program to help asylum seekers find and work with U.S.-based lawyers via teleconferencing in Ciudad Juárez.

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