HIAS Helps Reunite Syrian Family Amid Refugee Ban

By Gabe Cahn, HIAS.org

After spending more than two years apart, a family was reunited today in dramatic fashion.  

A Syrian mother and her two young daughters, who were previously blocked by the travel ban, arrived today at JFK airport with the help of HIAS.

The asylees were traveling from Jordan to the U.S. to join family here on Saturday, January 28, when the news broke of the executive order barring all Syrian entries. Despite having all the proper legal documents, the mother and daughters were prevented from boarding their connecting flight in Kiev. HIAS’ local office was alerted and the organization immediately began working to assist the family.

After several days of intense, high-level efforts to intervene, they are now safely here in the United States. Led by CEO and President Mark Hetfield, HIAS has been working day and night to help this family reach safety in the United States. In addition to raising this case in local, national and international media, HIAS brought together government officials, faith leaders and other influential figures to partner in this effort.

A HIAS attorney was also on hand at the airport today with a coalition of other legal representatives in order to ensure they were permitted lawful entry and their rights fully respected.

In response to the arrival, Hetfield said, “Unfortunately, this is just one of thousands of cases of innocent people who have been wrongly denied entry to the U.S. We believe these are the first Syrians to enter since the executive order was signed, and we are determined to make sure they are not the last. Moving forward, we will continue working tirelessly on as many cases of these as we can. As the Talmud teaches us: ‘To save one life is to save the world.’”

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