Opening Doors for New Americans since 1882
HIAS Pennsylvania partners with supporters, service providers, faith- and community-based groups, and advocacy organizations to assist refugees, immigrants and their families in Eastern Pennsylvania.
HIAS Pennsylvania is an independent organization, but its refugee resettlement program is part of a national network of local programs affiliated with national HIAS. HIAS Pennsylvania receives pass-through funds and referrals for refugee resettlement from national HIAS. It also works with national HIAS to advocate on behalf of refugees and immigrants, particularly in collaboration with other faith-based organizations.
In addition to partnering with national HIAS, the Refugee Resettlement Program has a number of special collaborations.
In 2010, under an initiative of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Public Health, doctors from the University of Pennsylvania’s Primary Care Network partnered with HIAS Pennsylvania to create a unique refugee health clinic that provides comprehensive and critical health care to refugees when they first arrive in the United States.
HIAS Pennsylvania partners with two local resettlement agencies, Nationalities Service Center and Lutheran Children and Family Services, and six medical clinics, to form the Philadelphia Refugee Health Collaborative, enhancing the capacity of health care providers to serve refugees' needs, including their behavioral health.
HIAS Pennsylvania is a member of the Pennsylvania State Refugee Resettlement Program and meets regularly with local and state agencies working on resettlement issues.
HIAS Pennsylvania is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and is one of the founding member agencies of the Federation. It works actively with synagogues, particularly Main Line Reform Temple, to develop volunteer programming for refugees, including Bar and Bat Mitzvah service projects. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College has placed student rabbis with HIAS Pennsylvania to develop curriculum and outreach, to engage the Jewish community in immigration and refugee issues. The agency also partners with JEVS Human Services; Jewish Family and Children’s Services, by referring clients; and the JCC's Klein Branch, collaborating to provide outreach immigration services, citizenship classes and English learning classes for elder immigrants and refugees.
Interfaith partnerships have included Wallingford Presbyterian Church and the Interfaith Center of Philadelphia.
HIAS Pennsylvania has many legal service partnerships with both the public-interest and private bar and engages in cross referrals to assist low-income immigrants with organizations such as:
In order to increase its capacity to represent vulnerable immigrants, HIAS Pennsylvania trains and mentors pro bono attorneys. In some instances, attorneys from major Philadelphia firms have formed specialized “practice groups” to handle cases involving immigrant victims of domestic and interpersonal violence, asylum, and other issues. Firms that routinely handle cases referred by HIAS Pennsylvania include:
HIAS Pennsylvania’s legal staff are active members of professional associations.The Executive Director is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Immigration Committee and the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Immigration Committee. HIAS Pennsylvania is an active member of the Delivery of Legal Services of the Philadelphia Bar Association, a committee encompassing all of the public interest organizations in the region. Attorneys at HIAS Pennsylvania are members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and are often presenters at continuing legal education programs, in addition to taking leadership roles in pro bono projects and other AILA activities.
HIAS Pennsylvania works with area law schools to provide internships and pro bono experience. It has special projects with Drexel University’s Earle Mack School of Law, to provide representation to immigrant youth; and with the University of Pennsylvania Law School's student-run immigration project, to intern with our staff attorneys.
Structured placements for undergraduate and graduate social work and public health students enable the agency to expand its services to immigrants and refugees, while also providing excellent supervision and mentoring to students.
Immigrant victims of domestic violence have special protection in U.S. immigration laws. HIAS Pennsylvania enjoys many formal partnerships with, and cross referrals from, domestic violence service providers. Among them are:
Congreso de Latinos Unidos
A Woman’s Place (Bucks County)
Domestic Violence Center of Chester County
Turning Point of Lehigh Valley
Women’s Resource Center of Scranton
Berks County Women in Crisis
Women Against Abuse Legal Services
Lutheran Settlement House, Domestic Violence Program
In order to provide holistic services to refugees and immigrants, HIAS Pennsylvania works with many community-based, ethnic-led and immigrant-serving organizations. There are formal collaborations with ACLAMO (Latin American Action Committee of Montgomery County) and Puentes de la Salud to provide immigration legal services to Latinos in a community-based setting. Other organizations with which there are collaborations include:
The Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs
Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC)
The Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
Elise Joseph Foundation (Haitian Community)
The New World Association
The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
HIAS Pennsylvania is a founder and member agency of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC), promoting fair and inclusive polices for immigrants. Staff members have also worked with the New Sanctuary Movement to educate the public about immigration issues.
HIAS Pennsylvania is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The organization is funded through a mix of government, foundation and individual support, and nominal fees. A full list of funding partners appears each year in the Annual Report.