Opening Doors for New Americans since 1882
Alana Murphy is biking across the United States with a mission. In every state her wheels take her, she meets refugees who have trekked thousands of miles to reach their goals. When she stopped in Pennsylvania, Alana met many refugees resettled by HIAS PA who lived in Philadelphia and were willing to share their experiences.
Merhawi for example, is from Ethiopia but has been in the U.S. for 5 years now. To him, "being American is, like I think of it as having this limitless capability to not only improve yourself but also the people that you have left behind."
Mustafa* knows two kinds of fear: the suffocating fear of dying or losing a loved one in a bomb blast, and the slow creeping fear of watching his youngest child slowly die before his eyes and being unable to do anything about it.
Mustafa lived a simple life. Every day he crossed a bridge to the local market where he sold ceramics. At night, he came home to his wife and three children.
HIAS Pennsylvania was featured in two articles in the February Philadelphia Bar reporter (pg. 7&8). The articles spotlight a panel on US Immigration policy featuring our Executive Director Judith Bernstein-Baker and board member Wendy Castor Hess and a workshop on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status led by staff members Elizabeth Yaeger and Catherine Feeley.
In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, HIAS Pennsylvania's refugee team, along with volunteers, organized a fun-filled day at the Philadelphia Zoo for a team of refugee kids on June 22nd. This event was made possible, in part, due to the support from the Enterprise Holding Foundation.
The trip was a grand success as you can see from the pictures below. For some of the kids it was their first experience at the zoo!
Join us as we observe World Refugee Day on June 20. Last week, on June 13, HIAS PA worked with community partners to commemorate this important day at Northeast High School. We celebrated with style - dancing, eating, soccer, and laughter with refugees from Sudan, Bhutan, Syria, Iraq, Congo, Burma and countless others from all over the world.
We also liked the sentiments of our friends at national HIAS:
Thanks to support from the Enterprise Holding Foundation (pictured left), and in celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, HIAS Pennsylvania is excited to bring a team of refugee kids to their first visit to the Philadelphia Zoo on June 22! Our last trip to the zoo was in 2013 - and as you can see from the pictures below, it was an exciting and eye-opening trip. We're sure this year will be just great for our new cohort of children and volunteers. Stay tuned for pictures from this year's trip!
In November of 2014, the State Department's Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (RRM) announced a new in-country refugee/parole program for Central American children who are El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras nationals, currently reside in these countries, and have one or both parents lawfully present in the United States. To be eligible, the child must under 21 and unmarried.
Our most recent refugee population coming to Philadelphia is from the Congo, resettling into Point Breeze and Northeast Philadelphia. Michael Matza at the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a great article about their newfound precence in our city and the trauma they endured before their arrival.
Photo courtesy of Michael Bryant, Inquirer Staff Photographer
There have been several recently introduced proposals, such as the HUMANE Act, S. 2611, and the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, HR 1537, neither of which is a humane or reform piece of legislation. These proposals would put vulnerable children in harm’s way by stripping away critical protections in the TVPRA for children from all countries not bordering the U.S. including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
HIAS Pennsylvania's Executive Director has been selected to attend the National Immigrant & Refugee Integration Convening at the White House on July 16, 2014. The event will include break-out sessions with local and national lecturers on various topics including: