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 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.
     
  • Helpful Resources:
    Know Your Rights
    video for people in the MPP program: SpanishPortuguese
    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.


 

Swimming to Mexico: Helping HIAS One Stroke at a Time

Nov 07, 2019

Melinda Menzer swam across the US-Mexico border to raise awareness and money for HIAS.

“There is No Normal” at the US-Mexico Border

Oct 11, 2019

At an immigration law and policy conference, telling the hard truth about the current situation at the US-Mexico border.

At the Border of Hope and Despair

Sep 06, 2019

HIAS Board Chair Bob Aronson shares his thoughts after recently seeing the situation up close in El Paso, TX, and Juarez, Mexico.

Interview: Naomi Steinberg on Changing U.S. Refugee and Asylum Policy

Aug 13, 2019

HIAS Vice President for Policy and Advocacy Naomi Steinberg shares her perspective on changing US immigration policies amid the current massive global refugee crisis.

WATCH: Melanie Nezer's TED Talk on Why Asylum is a Fundamental Right

Jul 30, 2019

HIAS Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Melanie Nezer shares an urgently needed historical perspective on the crisis at the southern U.S. border.

Update: More Than 1500 Jewish Clergy Sign Petition to Protect Asylum

Jul 23, 2019

More than 1400 Jewish clergy members signed a petition calling on elected officials to protect the legal right to seek asylum in the U.S., and on July 18, a delegation of rabbis, attorneys, and advocates went to Capitol Hill to deliver it to key members of Congress.

WATCH: A Day in the Life of HIAS Border Fellow Luis Gonzalez

Jul 17, 2019

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

WATCH: Asylum, An Essential Lifeline

Jun 25, 2019

Asylum is in the news a lot these days. Borders closed, children forcibly separated from parents, people detained in cages. Yet, many of us still don’t know what asylum really means and how it works. Watch our new video to learn more.

On Their Own Time, Lawyers Helping at the Border

May 21, 2019

HIAS-led delegations of pro bono attorneys travel to the border to provide additional legal services and build on the work being done by the HIAS Border Fellows

Border Fellow Helps Those Seeking a "Glimmer of Hope"

Apr 09, 2019

Nicolas Palazzo is the new HIAS Border Fellow working in El Paso, Texas.

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