NEW YORK (May. 8)
An official of HIAS went to Miami today at the request of the Coban community there to advise it on the reception and resettlement of the thousands of Cuban refugees that have been streaming into Florida by boat from Cuba, the organization’s president, Ed Shapiro, said here.
Shapiro told the Jewish Isle graphic Agency that Dr. Brace Leinsidor, an executive administrative assistant to Gaynor Jacobson, HIAS’s executive vice president, has also been asked by the U.S. government to go to the Elgin Air Force Base, near Fort Walton Beach, Flo., where many of the refugees are being processed, to lend HIAS’ professional advice. More than 22,000 Cuban refugees have come into Key West, Fla. since April 18.
Before the exodus of Cubans began last month, HIAS had already been processing the emigration of 46 Jews from Cuba, Shapiro said. He said since then HIAS has been contacted by another 20 Jews who want to leave Cuba. He noted that most are family reunion cases and all will emigrate through normal channels and not through the makeshift florilla of private and charter boats now bringing Cubans to Florida. There are an estimated 1500 Jews in Cuba.
Shapiro pointed out that HIAS, now celebrating its 100th anniversary, while primarily concerned with the needs of Jewish refugees, has been called an in the post to help in the resettlement of others. In 1965, at the request of President Johnson, HIAS advised on the resettlement of some 700,000 Cubans who come to the U.S. at that time HIAS helped resettle Indians who were forced to leave Uganda by the former Idi Amin regime.
Most recently, HIAS has been involved in helping the Indochinese refugees. Shapiro was part of a four-member delegation who accompanied Vice President Walter Mondale to Geneva last year for an international conference on aiding the “boat people.” With government funds, HIAS through some 200 Jewish federations, Jewish family service agencies and synagogues, is aiding some 6000 Indochinese who will have come to the U.S. by the end of 1980.