Founded in 1882 as the Association for Jewish Immigrants, HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal support and services to low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from all backgrounds and works to address their needs, defend their rights, and advocate for their equitable inclusion in American society.
Refugee resettlement is how HIAS Pennsylvania first came to be, and they continue that program to this day. The organization provides case management and extensive cultural orientation to refugees and ensures their basic needs are met during their first ninety days in the United States. They also have a post resettlement program that provides continued case management for up a year for particularly vulnerable refugees and those who need employment-related help. HIAS Pennsylvania also has an after-school ESL program for refugee children and adults, as well as one-on-one tutoring for individuals with special needs.
HIAS PA’s immigration legal services provide direct representation for a broad range of issues and includes four special initiatives to support vulnerable immigrants. The Immigrant Youth Advocacy initiative focuses on providing support, advice, and referral services to youth immigrants who permanently or temporarily live in Pennsylvania, as well as providing education and training support services to attorneys and judges in Pennsylvania that work with immigrant youth. Interpersonal Violence Initiative attorneys assist survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other forms of persecution. The Philadelphia Partnership for Resistance is a collaboration between HIAS PA and Nationalities Service Center that provides comprehensive support services for refugee and immigrant torture survivors. The Latino Outreach Immigration Services initiative provides “on-site” consultations and other legal services to isolated Latino communities in Norristown and South Philadelphia.
HIAS Pennsylvania also offers legal services and case management for asylees and their families, similar to their Refugee Resettlement Program, through their Asylee Outreach Program. The Citizenship Assistance Program provides direct representation to refugees and immigrants who are seeking to naturalize and works in collaboration with other agencies to help prepare applicants for the exam.