The anxiety and fear across our community around issues of immigration resonate deeply, as we too were “strangers in a strange land.” One hundred years ago, UJA-Federation was founded to meet the needs of an immigrant population that came through Ellis Island with nothing but dreams for a better life. From our very beginning, we have offered support to all those who come to these shores seeking freedom and opportunity, including immigrants and refugees of every ethnic and religious background.

Today, we work hand in hand with our nearly 100 nonprofit partners to deliver a broad array of safety net and resettlement services helping immigrants, including food for the hungry, legal counsel, citizenship classes, ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, financial literacy, employment services, mental health counseling, and more.

Funds we provide enable our partners to offer a powerful support system for our city’s diverse communities and respond quickly to changing needs. Here is just a snapshot of some of our partners’ work with immigrants, made possible by the support of our generous donors:

Legal Assistance

  • New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) attorneys were immediately onsite at JFK and continue to assist immigrant travelers and their families. A cross-unit team of lawyers is keeping abreast of the changing immigration landscape, collaborating with other immigration services organizations, and evaluating how best to help families thrown into crisis.

Refugee Resettlement

  • HIAS is providing refugees, asylum-seekers, and other humanitarian migrants in New York City, Long Island, and Rockland and Westchester counties with initial resettlement and integration services, from housing to cultural orientation, English classes, and more. HIAS is also playing a prominent role in advocating around immigration issues.

Community Building

  • Our network of 23 Jewish community centers has long helped immigrants and other people in need. As just one current example, the Educational Alliance, located on the Lower East Side since 1889, launched a “We the People” initiative, promoting inclusiveness and protection for vulnerable populations, including immigrants, Muslims, poor Jews, and LGBTQ+ youth.

A Path to Success

  • The Hebrew Free Loan Society is providing interest-free loans to low-income New Yorkers. A very large percentage of borrowers are immigrants and the children of immigrants, including many refugees, and many use these funds to start small businesses.
  • UJA is supporting employment services for immigrant populations through our funding of the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, the Central Queens Y, the Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, and many other nonprofits. Through CUNY Hillels, we fund paid internships for immigrants who are college and graduate students.


  • Given our deep concern about potential policy changes affecting access to entitlements and other crucial human services, we have joined together with other faith-based and umbrella organizations (including Catholic Charities and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies). Together, we will respond to policies that may impact our shared communities.

Finally, we recognize that this moment is motivating so many across our community to find ways to help others. We invite you to volunteer through UJA-Federation’s Time for Good platform, which offers hundreds of meaningful opportunities across our region. Getting involved really does matter, especially now.