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 opened an office in Mexico and plans are already underway to expand from its current Juarez operation to Monterrey, Tijuana, and Mexicali. The Juarez office provides people with legal services and information, including legal assistance for asylum in the US and Mexico, legal representation to stay in Mexico, and Know Your Rights workshops.
- 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 five 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, 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.
- HIAS Border Response Team: We are looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers for an ongoing opportunity to travel to El Paso/Ciudad Juarez for one week (Sunday night through Friday) to fill an urgent need to screen asylum seekers for potential representation. You do not have to be an attorney or have prior experience, as HIAS will provide training. We are also looking for remote volunteers to translate documents for asylum seekers in Ciudad Juarez. Fill out an application form if you would like to participate.
- 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.
- 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 a recent 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.