News & Views

HIAS Pennsylvania is Open for Business During the Outbreak of COVID-19

While taking appropriate precautions, including working remotely whenever possible, HIAS Pennsylvania staff is still working hard to help our clients, who are some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community. We continue to do intake and provide immigration legal support to all those we can possibly serve, including, but not limited to:

  • Representing clients whom ICE is attempting to deport right now. Even when most courts are closed, immigrants in detention are still going through deportation hearings.
  • Preparing petitions for asylum and other humanitarian visas so our clients are first in line even if backlogged courts aren’t open.
  • Preparing applications for green cards, which provides an extra level of security here in the US on the path to citizenship. Ensuring they are ready to go whenever the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is open.
  • Working with our DACA clients to make sure their two-year status is current. If the US Supreme Court ruling expected soon allows the Administration to eliminate the program, only residents with current DACA status will be able to stay in the country while they figure out next steps.

We are also continuing to provide our regular social and educational services, including:

  • Resettling the few refugees that are still arriving.
  • Providing case management and virtual group activities to increase immigrant wellness.
  • Helping green-card holders study for their citizenship tests online.
  • Providing ESL classes to both adults and youth online.

We have also started providing new services to ensure that our clients get the support they need during this crisis, including:

  • Starting an Immigrant Relief Fund to provide cash grants to current clients who are unable to access cash relief from the government (including unemployment and CARES Act money) because of their status or the statuses of those in their household.
  • Working to overcome the digital divide by providing current clients with laptops and training them how to use them.
  • Greatly increasing our case management services for undocumented immigrants, who are most in danger of freefall during this crisis.
  • Using our volunteer base and partnerships to provide groceries, diapers, baby goods, and other in-kind supplies to our clients.
  • Helping clients who qualify fill out applications for benefits they cannot navigate alone. Without our help, they may never navigate language barriers and lack of knowledge about American government.

We have cancelled all in-person events, but many events have moved to virtual platforms. We will be sending e-blasts about these events and posting information on our website and our Facebook page. If you are not already on our mailing list and want to receive these notices, please click here to join our mailing list.