HIAS Applauds Introduction of Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, urges members of Congress to support the Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act, and thanks Congressman Keith Ellison for introducing this thoughtful, practical, and much needed legislation.

“The Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act would update the refugee resettlement program to better meet the needs of refugees arriving in the U.S. as well as the communities that welcome them,” said Mark Hetfield, HIAS President and CEO. “Today, unfortunately even the most welcoming local communities are struggling to meet the needs of incoming refugees because of increasingly limited resources.  If passed, this legislation would help refugees to more quickly become self-sufficient and fully integrated into American society – this would benefit not only the refugees themselves, but also the communities in the U.S. where they are rebuilding their lives. ”

Rep. Ellison’s legislation seeks to reform both the pre-arrival processing of refugees for resettlement and the post-arrival resettlement program, with a goal of supporting refugees’ integration into U.S. communities.  By streamlining refugee processing and ensuring coordination among the government agencies involved in refugee resettlement, the bill would help the U.S. respond to emergencies and offer safe haven to refugees without unnecessarily prolonging the admissions process.  Furthermore, it would build on successful programs that provide refugees with English language classes while they are waiting abroad to be processed, help refugees obtain professional certifications for which they are qualified, and help ensure that refugees are provided with mental health counseling if needed. 

HIAS is the Jewish agency that protects refugees, operating in 14 countries and serving some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.  In the U.S. HIAS resettles refugees through an extensive national affiliate network. 

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