Webinar Recording: Refugee Resettlement, Asylum, and the U.S./Mexico Border

Posted on: Thursday August 22, 2019

This webinar covers the following topics:

  1. Refugee Resettlement in the U.S.

This webinar provides an up-to-the-minute update on the Administration’s moves to sharply cut refugee resettlement to the United States, denying protection to people fleeing terror and persecution around the world. We focused on the upcoming decision that the Administration will make on refugee admissions for 2020, and the real impact that these choices will make for refugees and for the U.S. refugee program itself.

  1. Asylum, and the U.S/Mexico Border

An increasing number of the people arriving at the U.S./Mexico border are seeking asylum because their own countries are not safe. Seeking asylum is legal, no matter who you are or how you enter the country. On the call, we discussed the U.S. asylum program, and the cruel and egregious policies targeting those who come to our country in search of safety, including family separation, prolonged detention, and sending people back into Mexico to wait for months in unsafe conditions.

  1. How You Can Help

HIAS is a leader in protecting the rights of refugees around the world. We operate in 12 countries around the world, and will expand into four new countries in this year alone. We resettle refugees and provide legal services to asylum seekers in communities across the United States, including on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. Our work is grounded in Jewish values and experience, and we shared how Rabbis, congregations, and local Jewish communities can be involved in our work through advocacy, volunteering, donating time and resources, and raising awareness.

Here are the backgrounders referenced during the webinar:

  1. Asylum backgrounder (what does asylum look like in the US today)
  2. Presidential Determination backgrounder
  3. Resettlement/national security backgrounder
  4. Refugee resettlement 101 backgrounder
  5. Basics of asylum backgrounder
  6. An article about next fiscal year’s proposed refugee admissions
  7. Economic integration backgrounder
  8. Economic contributions backgrounder

About Our Presenters: 

Rebecca Kirzner is the Director of Grassroots Campaigns at HIAS, where she leads the organization’s community organizing strategy, grassroots advocacy, and activism for refugees. Once an organization that primarily helped Jewish immigrants and refugees, HIAS now brings our Jewish values and 136 years of experience to the aid and protection of all refugees. Prior to joining HIAS, Rebecca was the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director at J Street, where she led the advocacy, leadership development, and organizing strategy across six states. She is a former teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Naomi Steinberg joined HIAS as Vice President, Policy and Advocacy in September 2017. Previously, Naomi was the Director of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), a coalition dedicated to refugee protection, welcome and excellence in the U.S. refugee resettlement program. In this position, she led the overall work of the Council, including facilitating partnerships between RCUSA and other nongovernmental organizations, as well as fostering strong communications between international, federal and state partners. Prior to her work with RCUSA, Naomi was the Deputy Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). At SEARAC, she focused on building the capacity of community-based, refugee-led organizations. Naomi has an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Cornell University and a B.A. in Political Science from Macalester College.