District Court Orders Lancaster School District to Enroll Refugee Kids in Appropriate Public Schools


On Friday, August 26, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs in Khadidjah Issa et al. v. The School District of Lancaster. The case, brought by the Education Law Center and the ACLU of Pennsylvania on behalf of several refugee kids, argued that the Lancaster School District violated both State and Federal law by failing to enroll the children in a timely manner and failing to enroll them in an educational program appropriate to their educational needs.

HIAS Pennsylvania Supports Philadelphia Policing Policy That Builds Trust in Immigrant Communities

The City of Philadelphia has become known as a “Sanctuary City” because the administration has developed a carefully crafted policy in which police focus on community policing and preventing crime instead of enforcing our civil immigration laws.   HIAS Pennsylvania supports this policy.

Spotlight on an Intern—Emily Smithman

When Emily applied to intern with HIAS Pennsylvania last spring, she only knew that HIAS Pennsylvania was a leading immigration non-profit in Philadelphia—and thus the perfect fit for her aspirations. But when she got the interview and told her mother, she was surprised to find out that she had a personal connection to HIAS Pennsylvania—HIAS Pennsylvania had helped her great-grandmother come to the US. A fact made even more real by when Emily found records of her great-grandmother's relationship to HIAS PA in her attic (see below).

Inspired and Inspiring: For HIAS Pennsylvania, Immigration is a Personal Issue

During the convention weeks, as politicians and individuals staked their position on immigration, one story stood out—Karla Ortiz’s speech about her experience living with undocumented parents.  Her story resonated with me because I have also lived in fear of deportation of my family. Just like Karla’s parents, my parents came to this country in search of the American Dream and a better life.

Important Announcement from Judi Bernstein-Baker

Dear Friends and Colleagues:
After an amazing, inspiring and challenging 18 years as Executive Director of HIAS Pennsylvania, I have decided it is time to “pass the torch” to a new leader.  I plan to transition out of the position of Executive Director of HIAS Pennsylvania on October 31, 2016, but will remain involved on some special projects at the organization afterwards.  From now until then I will continue to work hard to nurture and lead the organization.

One Man’s Journey Through War to Save His Son

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.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Spotlight on an employee: Mary McCabe

When Mary McCabe meets with children from Honduras, El  Salvador, or Guatemala, she is struck by their hope. They have  left their homes and ventured alone to the US leaving behind  worlds of gang violence, domestic and sexual abuse, extreme  poverty in their communities, and abandonment by their families.

The Words of a Donor



On New Year's Eve, a donation was hand delivered to us. A woman at a local business had asked for donations from fellow employees at her place of work and raised over $500. But even more, she wrote us words that speak to the reason we do what we do:


Subscribe to HIAS Pennsylvania RSS