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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 Diego, and 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. Last year, we sent a team of legal and program experts to several areas along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to determine how best to respond to the crisis. HIAS and the ADL led a trip to the border for leaders of national Jewish organizations to witness firsthand how the Trump administration’s policies are endangering individuals and families fleeing violence and persecution. We also organized a solidarity mission of 40 Rabbis and Jewish leaders to visit migrant centers in Tijuana assisting asylum seekers, migrants in transit and other displaced persons. Additionally, HIAS sent one legal delegation to the Port Isabel Detention Center in Texas and another to the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas to assist adult asylum applicants, many of whom have been separated from their children after crossing the U.S. border.
- We continue to mobilize the Jewish community to be a strong, persistent moral voice in support of fair, humane treatment of asylum seekers.
- We engage in asylum advocacy in Washington, seeking the reversal of the Administration’s zero-tolerance policy.
Look 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.