HIAS Opens Five New International Offices
Sep 26, 2019
HIAS Opens New Offices in Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and Europe
Jewish nonprofit expands in regions newly impacted by global refugee crisis to provide critical assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. Europe office will liaise with EU, bring together Jewish community.
Silver Spring, Md. – HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, is opening new offices in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Aruba, countries experiencing an unprecedented influx of refugees and asylum seekers. Also, a new HIAS office in Belgium will engage the European Jewish community and develop ties to EU institutions. With this expansion, the organization’s network now reaches 15 countries across the United States, Mexico, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
“We are experiencing the largest global refugee crisis in recorded history, with more than 70 million displaced people around the world,” said Mark Hetfield, HIAS President and CEO. “For more than 138 years, HIAS’ work has been driven by our Jewish values of welcoming the stranger and protecting the refugee. As the crisis has spread to new regions, our mission to protect individuals fleeing violence and persecution is more urgent now than ever before.”
In Juarez, Mexico, HIAS is supporting the rapidly growing number of Central American asylum seekers waiting to file asylum claims at the U.S. border, or who crossed the border and were sent back under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. HIAS attorneys and volunteers in Juarez are leading “Know Your Rights” trainings and helping asylum seekers pursue claims in the U.S. or apply for protection in Mexico. They are also assessing cases for legal representation by HIAS’ partners in El Paso and San Diego.
In Aruba, Colombia and Peru, HIAS is leading programs to help the record high number of people fleeing Venezuela recover from trauma, generate income to support their families and access legal services. HIAS is also implementing programs to provide protection to women and girls who are especially vulnerable to sexual assault and human trafficking.
The HIAS Europe office in Brussels will convene Jewish and interfaith partners to raise awareness, advocate for and assist asylum seekers and refugees, and work with other HIAS offices in the region. These include Greece, where attorneys are setting new legal precedents for displaced people and Austria, where, for many years, HIAS helped Jews and other minorities from Iran resettle in the United States to practice their religion freely.
This is the largest expansion for HIAS since the early 2000s, when the organization first began providing resettlement and other services on a large scale to non-Jewish refugees and launched its first programs in refugee-hosting countries in Africa and Latin America. HIAS continues to lead a network of resettlement partners and Welcome Campaign congregations across the U.S. from its Silver Spring, Md. headquarters.
HIAS is the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees—including women and children, and ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities—whose lives are in danger for being who they are. Guided by our values and history, HIAS helps refugees rebuild their lives in safety and advocates to ensure that all displaced people are treated with dignity. More info at @HIASrefugees, Facebook and hias.org.