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 two fellows are working with partners in El Paso, Texas: Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services; 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 remotely. Spanish-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 here. If 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.
Know Your Rights video for people in the MPP program: Spanish, Portuguese, 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.