Apr 30, 2021

Galo Quizanga, Global Director of Economic Inclusion and Jessica Therkelsen, Director of Legal Protection

Through the 1940s, refugees and asylum seekers around the world were often barred from working or forced into illegal oppressive working situations to support themselves and their families. On this International Labor Day we look back on 70 years of work since the 1951 Refugee Convention effectively allowed refugees and asylum seekers access to work and the rights that go with it.

May 1 is a day that honors the rights of workers and the enormous contributions of labor movements to our societies…

Apr 20, 2021

Max J. Rosenthal, HIAS.org

(Doug Mills/New York Times via Getty Images)

April 16 was a tumultuous day for refugee resettlement in the United States.

Early that day, President Biden delivered a long-awaited announcement. It was bad news: he would keep this year’s refugee admissions cap at 15,000, the all-time low number set by the Trump administration. While he ordered the end of discriminatory quotas on refugees from certain countries, Biden broke his repeated promises to significantly raise the admissions cap, setting off an avalanche of criticism from politicians, religious leaders, refugee advocates, and the public. …

Apr 19, 2021

Sharon Samber, HIAS.org

The teacher made them practice handshakes over and over.

A handshake had to be strong but not too hard and not too weak, said the woman with the blond curly hair, so the students worked on their handshakes until they got it right.

If it weren’t for that first teacher in a HIAS cultural orientation class going through the details of life in America, Inna Zubashko has no idea where she would be today.

Twenty years ago Inna came to the United States from Ukraine with her extended family. She didn’t know much English…

Apr 14, 2021

Sharon Samber, HIAS.org

Walking should be easy, but you have to be on your feet to do it. For some refugees, getting back onto your feet is tricky, but that’s what the project Caminando, or Walking, intends to do.

For more than half a year there has been a close collaboration in Ecuador between HIAS and UN Women on the Caminando project that promotes economic empowerment and women’s rights as an effective strategy to eliminate gender-based violence, or GBV. …

Apr 12, 2021

Sharon Samber, HIAS.org

John Oliver is sick of it. And HIAS can see his point.

In February President Biden promised to boost the refugee admissions cap and eliminate Trump-era restrictions. Two months on, with still no signature to his proposal, refugees and refugee advocacy agencies are perplexed. And now John Oliver, from the platform of his weekly HBO show Last Week Tonight, has sounded off.

“There are thousands of people now stuck in this pointless limbo,” Oliver said Sunday night with a mix of outrage and comic righteousness. “It’s an infuriating situation.”

HIAS President and CEO Mark…

Apr 07, 2021

Max J. Rosenthal, HIAS.org

(Sue Kenney-Pfalzer/HIAS)

On a recent day in Reynosa, Mexico, a group of 25 asylum seekers prepared for the last leg of their journey to the United States. The group — most of them from Cuba, with others from Central American countries — had been trapped in Reynosa for months by the Trump administration’s “Remain In Mexico” policy. Now, with the policy rescinded, they gathered at a staging area to finalize their paperwork and get a ride to the U.S.-Mexico border.

There, under white-topped tents in the courtyard of the local office of the…

Apr 05, 2021

Sharon Samber, HIAS.org

More than a million refugees fled to Europe in 2015 and many came to the Greek island of Lesvos, hoping to start a new life. The flow of refugees has slowed since then but thousands still try to find refuge on the island, and it has become a dangerous place to stay, without safety or stability.

In the latest episode of Crossing Borders, the HIAS podcast, we hear about asylum seekers who make the ardous journey to Lesvos but then struggle to navigate the Greek asylum system and end up stuck in squalid conditions…

Mar 23, 2021

Max J. Rosenthal, HIAS.org


In recent weeks, the news has been filled with stories about a supposed “crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border. Many commentators and politicians have claimed the Biden administration has loosened restrictions and “opened” the border.

None of this is true. So what is the situation at the border and with asylum seekers? And what changes has the Biden administration made to its policies? Here are some answers.

Is the border open?

Contrary to what you might hear, the border is not “open.” In fact, it’s more “closed” than at almost any time since World War II. The…

Mar 18, 2021

Mark Hetfield — President and CEO

HIAS, the oldest refugee agency in the world, has evolved from helping refugees because they were Jewish to helping refugees because we are Jewish.

Today, HIAS welcomes and assists forcibly displaced persons of a multitude of faiths and ethnicities. We are thankful that, as a Jewish community and an organization, we are in a position to help others as we and our ancestors were often helped.

In doing this work, we have attracted a global workforce — 1,233 staff members across the globe — that also represents a multitude of faiths…


HIAS is the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees. We stand for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom. Join us!

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