Read these stories and you will know why we are supporting HIAS PA through our Twistnshout for Tolerance campaign.
- MUSTAFA from Syria, knows two kinds of fear: dying or losing a loved one in a bomb blast, and helplessly watching his youngest, ill child slowly die before his eyes. To survive, he and his family fled from Syria to Turkey. When they finally arrived in the U.S. as refugees, HIAS PA was there to orient them and help with housing, health care, education and legal issues.
- JUAN came to the U.S. from Honduras, seeking a better life for his daughters. A shoe repair man, he was robbed at gunpoint. With his legal status unclear, he turned to HIAS PA who represented him. Juan and his daughters received U and U dependent visas which are available to individuals who have been, are, or will be helpful to law enforcement in prosecuting crimes. Juan helped law enforcement capture the men who had robbed his shop and was also able to stabilize his legal status.
MARIA traveled to the U.S. from Colombia in an effort to leave an abusive relationship and support the three children she was leaving behind with her mother. But life in the United States was not as she expected. Now married to an American citizen who abused her, Maria believed she was trapped in an inescapable cycle of violence – until she started working with legal staff at HIAS PA who helped her get a U-Visa (a visa for immigrants who are victims of crimes). With it, she gained legal status to live and work in the U.S. and petition for her children to join her in the United States.
HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal, resettlement, citizenship, and supportive services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from all backgrounds in order to ensure their fair treatment and full integration into American society. HIAS Pennsylvania advocates for just and inclusive practices.
Specialized services include help for asylum seekers and those seeking citizenship, legal representation of immigrants facing deportation or seeking to unite their families, humanitarian relief, advocating for vulnerable immigrant youth and defending immigrants who are victims of domestic violence or other violent crimes.
With immigration and refugees under political attack, HIAS PA needs our assistance now more than ever. Currently, 2/3 of its funding comes from the federal government. Given our new president’s agenda, this support may be threatened.
Thank you to Daniella Scruggs, Development Director at HIAS PA, for sharing her insights with me.