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.


 

Laptops and Lawyers Can Help Asylum Seekers in Mexico

Jan 16, 2020

HIAS joined a pilot program to help asylum seekers find and work with U.S.-based lawyers via teleconferencing in Ciudad Juárez.

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

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