HIAS and other groups ask Biden administration to extend protected status to Israelis in US


WASHINGTON ((JEWISH REVIEW)) — HIAS, the Jewish immigration advocacy group, and seven other Jewish groups asked the Biden Administration to extend protected status to Israelis in the United States who fear returning to a warzone.

The letter sent Friday asks President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to extend to Israelis deciding to wait out the war in the United States Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure. The statuses allow people holding them to work legally.

It notes reports that Palestinian non-citizens in the United States are under consideration to be eligible for those statuses because of the Israel-Hamas war launched by the terrorist group on Oct. 7.

“We recognize that TPS will provide protections to Palestinians in the U.S., ensuring that they do not have to return home to the midst of ongoing conflict,” said the letter, which HIAS released to the media on Monday. “Granting TPS to Palestinians is an essential step, but it should also be accompanied by a similar announcement for Israelis.”

The other seven signatories are J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group; the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a national public policy group; the Jewish Labor Committee; Jewish Women International; National Council of Jewish Women; the Rabbinical Assembly, the rabbinical arm of the Conservative movement; and T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights group.

In an interview, HIAS President Mark Hetfield said the statement came about because of queries from Jewish Family Services offices from around the country that are assisting Israelis who have come here temporarily during the war. Many Jewish day schools have accepted children who are in the country for an unknown amount of time.

“Israel is under fire every day, they have incoming missiles. There’s no flights to Israel, or very few flights,” he said, also noting that the State Department has put out travel warnings to Israel and the West Bank. “We have a lot of Israelis who want to delay their return home right now and are talking to Jewish Family Service agencies and whatnot around the country. So we think it’s only fair that they’d be included in the designation.”