Important Update from HIAS Chicago
Statement from HIAS Chicago:
Jewish Child & Family Services and HIAS Chicago regret to announce that due to an extreme reduction in the number of refugees authorized to resettle in the United States in 2017-18, our refugee resettlement program is being ended by the U.S. Department of State. We are proud that, in partnership with our caring community, we have successfully resettled thousands of refugees over decades of effort. Together, staff and volunteers have welcomed individuals from the Former Soviet Union, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Syria. We have ensured that each had safe, furnished homes, connected them to employment and education for their children and set them on a path towards integration. The strength of our combined efforts was recently recognized during a successful State Department monitoring visit in November.
The decision to discontinue resettlement efforts was not ours. The State Department is in the process of closing and consolidating programs across the country. The administration established an unprecedented cap of 45,000 refugees, the lowest number set since Presidents have been authorized to determine limits in 1980. It is possible the actual number of arrivals will, in fact, be even lower. By comparison, over 50,000 refugees were resettled last year and nearly 85,000 the year before.
Significant decreases in arrivals mean fewer programs are needed to support resettlement. As saddened as we are to see our program end, we are deeply concerned about those individuals and families awaiting their turns to come to the United States. Those who have been waiting years or even decades will now need to wait even longer to find freedom.
Please know that HIAS Chicago's immigration and citizenship work will continue as it has for over a century. We will continue to explore new ways of serving individuals and families who have already been resettled or immigrated. Our commitment to social justice and welcoming the stranger remain as strong as ever.
Thank you for your support.
How this Affects Na'aseh:
Following this news, we have many outstanding questions and know that you have some also. Our refugee resettlement coordinating team is in touch with HIAS Chicago and will share updates as they become available.
While we no longer expect to support an individual family through HIAS Chicago's resettlement program, we have identified several ways to aid the many refugee families already in Chicago who could use our assistance, and we invite you to join us in supporting these vulnerable families.
Please consider this new volunteer opportunity to support immigrants and refugees:
- Tutor Immigrant Students in English and Math at Clinton Elementary School: DeWitt Clinton Elementary, located in the West Ridge neighborhood, has a very large refugee population. The school would welcome volunteers to assist in lower-grade classrooms to practice reading and math with the children one on one or in small groups. This volunteer opportunity is 1 hour/week during the school day (8:30 am-3:30 pm). To volunteer or for more information, please contact Melissa Sterne at [email protected]
Contact us at [email protected] with any questions, and thank you for your generosity!
To contact your representatives about supporting the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, please visit this link.
To track updates in the legal proceedings related to the refugee ban, please visit this link.
Avi Allen, Samantha DeKoven, Melissa Sterne and Zach Seeskin
Anshe Emet Refugee Resettlement Coordinating Committee