News & Views

A New Day

Dear HIAS PA Supporter,

This last week I have felt, to quote one colleague, giddy. The outlook for immigrants in this country has changed completely. The daughter of immigrants is our Vice President. In Biden’s first few days in office, he already paused deportationsended the Muslim Travel Ban, paused Border Wall constructionextended DACArolled back interior immigration enforcement priorities, and ensured that undocumented immigrants are counted in the census. In addition, Biden has sent a bill proposing a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

So what does a new administration mean for Philadelphia’s immigrants and HIAS Pennsylvania?

  1. Peace of mind. Many of our clients, even if they have applied for legal status, live in constant fear of deportation orders that will tear them away from their lives and families.
  2. Clients can reunite with their families. Our neighbors from Syria, Iran, and other countries affected by the Muslim ban and long wait times have been separated from their families for years, without the chance to visit them abroad or have their families visit them.
  3. More people can gain the protection of DACA. Already, DACA has opened for new applicants after being closed for more than two years. DACA remains a temporary protection, with no path to citizenship, but it is a protection we will be thrilled to help more people obtain while we advocate for DREAMers to gain more rights.
  4. The US will again offer refuge to those fleeing violence. In the four years of the previous Administration, the US Refugee Program was almost entirely shut down. We are excited for the restoration of a higher refugee ceiling so that we will be able to resettle hundreds more refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iran, and hopefully Syria in the next year.
  5. Immigrants will have a better chance to thrive. With fewer government imposed obstacles, our case managers and legal advocates can do more to help immigrants be their best selves. Some immigrants become the founder of Google; others become home health aide workers who care for the homebound and elderly among us. In either case, each brings vital strength to our communities.

The past four years have been so destructive for immigrants, and the pandemic has hit immigrants especially hard. Our clients’ needs remain great, but so do the opportunities to help them. Share our joy, and help us continue the work of bending the arc toward justice. Advocate. Donate. Volunteer.

In gratitude,

Cathryn Miller-Wilson