Along with resettling refugees, we serve thousands of immigrants a year with their legal and social service needs including:
- DACA recipients and other individuals who are losing status due to new policies: We are screening DACA and TPS recipients to help them gain permanent status in the US. For example, after “Naomi” learned she was going to lose TPS status and forced back to Haiti after living decades in the US, she came to us. After screening, we realized that she had experienced persecution in Haiti, and are now helping her claim asylum.
- Refugees who are already here: While the government resettlement program only supports refugees for their first 90 days, we have found ways to support refugees beyond those three months, including expanded English teaching services, employment services, and extended case management. For example, “Nan” was resettled in Philadelphia 3 years ago and her family was thriving until she needed a kidney transplant. But because of translation and cultural problems, the hospital didn’t believe Nan and her family could handle the complex follow-up care required for a transplant. It took the intervention of a HIAS Pennsylvania case manager to advocate on the families’ behalf and show the medical team that, contrary to their assumptions and misunderstandings, Nan and her family did understand the medical follow-up that was necessary and were prepared. Nan will soon receive a new kidney and her family will continue thriving and contributing.
- Asylum-seekers and those who have received asylum: Some individuals fleeing persecution make their claims within the United States. HIAS PA helps individuals make their claim in court, and then helps provide services to them after they get status. For example, “Ralph”, a political asylum seeker from Guinea was released from detention after he finally won asylum and we helped him get housing so that he could begin his new life.
- Domestic Violence Victims, Neglected and Abused Children, and other Victims of Violence: Immigrants are even more vulnerable today than before, and HIAS PA works to ensure they get the stability of status. For example, when “Rachel’s” husband abused her, she was afraid of calling the police. They might find out her immigration status and send her away from her American born children. HIAS PA helped her get status, enabling her and her children to live free and safely away from violence.
- Individuals applying for citizenship: Being a citizen does not only mean being able to vote. It also means never having to worry about losing your right to stay in the United States. HIAS PA is providing citizenship classes and legal support to hundreds of individuals through clinics, pro bono partnerships, and individual support.
- Individuals seeking to reunite with their families: From helping children reunite with parents, to helping parents reunite with children, we help reunite families. For example, HIAS PA helped "George" and his wife, who had just been granted asylum, reunite with his 5-year-old daughter after 3 years apart.