U.S. Border Response

HIAS works on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to provide services to asylum seekers. We are also providing extensive community education to asylum seekers, including “Know Your Rights” presentations, and remote meetings with experienced asylum attorneys.

  • HIAS has offices in Mexico in Juarez, Matamoros, Mexicali, Mexico City, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Queretaro, Palenque, 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. Right now HIAS has five active fellows: one fellow is working out of our affiliate, JFS San Diego; one fellow is working with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas; and one fellow is at South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) in Brownsville, Texas. Also, Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Tucson and Nogales, Arizona as well as Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) in Laredo, Texas now have HIAS Fellows.
     
  • We are still actively recruiting volunteers to help asylum seekers remotelySpanish-speaking and Haitian Kreyol-speaking individuals can volunteer to provide remote document translation to assist asylum seekers in preparing necessary evidence for their asylum cases. You will receive training on how to translate these documents, and must commit to completing three translations over six months. If you or anyone you know is interested, please apply here. Additionally, Spanish-speaking volunteers can join Proyecto Compañeros, a virtual accompaniment project serving asylum seekers enrolled in the MPP (“Remain in Mexico”) program. Volunteers will meet with their matches bi-weekly for up to three months and provide them with friendship, support, non-legal information, and translation assistance. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining Proyecto Compañeros as a volunteer, please complete an application. Find out more and sign up hereIf you are a lawyer interested in helping, please see our Pro Bono page to learn more.
     
  • You can access Know Your Rights videos for people in the MPP program here in: SpanishPortugueseMam (Indigenous Guatemalan language)K’iche/Quiché (Indigenous Guatemalan language)  Here is 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

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.


 

Asylum, An Essential Lifeline

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

A Day in the Life of HIAS Border Fellow Luis Gonzalez

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

HIAS' "Know Your Rights" Video for Asylum Seekers

HIAS has collaborated with the Catholic Legal Immigiration Network (CLINIC) and the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham University to create a comprehensive animated “Know Your Rights” vid

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.

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