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September 23, 2021

Sharon Samber,

Many European Jewish communities are looking for ways to help Afghan refugees, but sometimes the helpers need a little extra support to get started.

HIAS Europe and the European Council for Jewish Communities (ECJC) understand that lots of Jewish community groups want to help…

September 23, 2021

by Dan Friedman

(Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

When the Biden administration reached out to HIAS in the spring of 2021 to ask if it would help people most in need of asylum at the U.S. Southern border, the organization was faced with a quandary. On the one hand…

September 20, 2021

by Dan Friedman

(Francesco Militello Mirto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

This summer, as the consequences of the American military withdrawal from Afghanistan became clear, aid and emergency organizations and U.S. refugee resettlement agencies stepped up their response.

“This is a crucial time. Afghans are arriving across the continent…

In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield argued that Afghan humanitarian parolees should have access to the same rights and benefits as refugees. The letter was first published online and appeared in the Post’s print edition on Sept. 18.

They do…

September 17, 2021

by Dan Friedman

(Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

What we often overlook about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is that they were privileged children. The story of the teen offspring of nobility may have ended tragically, but that’s because the Montague and Capulet heirs chose to end it that way…

Sept. 6, 2021

HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield told MSNBC that the U.S. needs to reclassify Afghans who are coming into the U.S. Right now they are mostly considered humanitarian parolees which means they can’t bring family into the country easily.

“We need these people to be treated as refugees under U.S. law so they have the ability to reunite with their family,” Hetfield said. Refugee status would entitle the Afghans to benefits and other help they need, and could provide a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

Hetfield also called for a “humanitarian corridor” (a safe route through which civilians can evacuate) so people can get evacuated out of Afghanistan to safety.

Originally published at

September 2, 2021

Bill Swersey — Vice President, Communications

In mid-August, as thousands were clamoring to escape the chaos in Afghanistan, HIAS received an urgent request from officials at The New York Times.

The news outlet wanted to know if it would be possible to provide support for their current…

August 31, 2021

Sharon Samber,

Dale Schwartz, a long-time member of the HIAS board and past HIAS board chair, died August 27.

As an immigration attorney, Schwartz advocated for those who needed more of a voice, and was known as a force to be reckoned with.

“He was a…

August 30, 2021

Sharon Samber,

“There is no process,” HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield told CNN’s Bianna Golodryga when asked how Afghans would be resettled in the U.S.

Hetfield said HIAS was told by the State Department to prepare, along with the other resettlement agencies, for 50,000 parolees…

August 30, 2021

Dan Friedman,

Betsy Jenkins was watching her foster sons playing with each other in the yard when she saw the email, “Extra help needed for new refugee apartment move-in, can you help?”

“I really felt like it was the perfect way to use my resources, to…


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