Photo: Dan Kenan

The Hotine for Refugees and Migrants assists vulnerable individuals, particularly those held in immigration detention, to uphold their rights. By combining client advocacy with impact litigation, policy initiatives, and public outreach, we aim to achieve broad-based, systematic improvements in policies and practices ensuring that the human rights of migrants in Israel are respected.

Our main activities are:

Crisis Intervention: We operate a migrant advice centre offering consultation and paralegal representation free of charge. In order to bring these services to immigration detainees, we make frequent visits to detention facilities, providing on-site information and support. Since its inception the HMW has assisted over 55,000 clients from over 125 different countries and has made more than 1,800 visits to immigration detention facilities. These services are provided by trained staff and volunteers. Over the years more than 750 volunteers have been involved in this work and thousands of migrants have been released from detention thanks to their intervention.

Legal Action: Our skilled lawyers litigate those cases with the most potential to affect policies and practices. By ensuring better access to justice for migrants, we are not only providing critical services, but also shaping the legal landscape in Israel. Our successes have engendered legislative reform, such as amendments to the Entry to Israel Law and anti-trafficking legislation, and resulted in administrative review of immigration detention cases; state funded legal aid, housing and medical care for trafficking victims; special procedures for treating unaccompanied minors; and improvements to refugee status determination procedures.

Public Policy and Education: Through research and policy papers, media activism, public events, and meetings with stakeholders and decision makers, we educate and inform the public about immigration policy and its implications, both for migrants and society as a whole. Our policy recommendations are informed by our hands-on experience and interviews with migrants, ensuring that their voices are heard. With dozens of research publications highlighting recent academic research and best practices, we encourage an informed and evidence-based discussion on migration, rather than one guided by prejudices and unsubstantiated assumptions. We have initiated over 4,000 media pieces over the years and have held numerous public events. These have led, among other things, to the granting of residence status to children of undocumented migrants.