The Biden administration plans to unveil a private refugee sponsorship program next year to allow private organizations and groups to financially support refugees – including Afghans.
why it matters: American companies and individuals have already expressed their eagerness to donate, volunteer and help rescue vulnerable Afghans. The administration’s new plan will build on that, creating a new way for Americans to help address a growing refugee crisis, Nerdshala has learned.
- One such attempt welcome.us, launched Tuesday, supported by President Obama, Bush and Clinton.
Between the lines: Currently, nine US refugee agencies work with the federal government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide care for those settled in the country.
- The plan being put together by the State Department would allow private companies, advocacy groups and local communities to directly support — and even bring in — refugees, according to conversations with several advocates familiar with it.
- This would allow groups – rather than just those agencies – to provide aid to Afghans “on parole” in the US.
- In February, President Biden signed an executive order calling for innovation in the refugee process, including “effectively employing technology and capitalizing on community and private sponsorship of refugees.”
- The State Department declined to comment.
what to watch: The program will reflect Canada’s private refugee resettlement system – which is hugely popular.
- Canada aims to resettle 22,500 refugees through private sponsorship in 2021 1.8 times more As a target for government-aided refugees.
- country has one Web Page For groups of five or more Canadians or private organizations that wish to sponsor already approved refugees or refugees that the groups themselves have located.
- Advocates tell Nerdshala they see the Welcome.us initiative — which creates a central hub for Americans to donate or volunteer with refugee agencies — as a ramp for future private refugee sponsorships.
Policy details in progress By the State Department, including how many people are needed to sponsor a refugee and how much private resettlement can take place without the oversight of refugee agencies.
- Senior government officials noted during a call with reporters on Tuesday that companies, philanthropists, universities, veterans groups and other private organizations have expressed interest in funding, sponsoring and otherwise supporting Afghans.
- An official said he would have more information about his participation in the Welcome.US initiative “in the coming days”.
The exact time is also not clearCurrent, national attention was paid to the plight of the Afghans in particular.
- “The passion for this group in the United States is extraordinary,” Gregory Maniatis, director of the Open Society Foundations International Migration Initiative, told Nerdshala. “There is a huge demand to be involved in the reception process.”
- Maniatis outlined how private sponsorship can allow specialized organizations to help certain groups of vulnerable people – such as veterans groups sponsoring allies he worked with in Afghanistan.
What are they saying: Many refugee agencies support the idea of private sponsorship, but some are hesitant.
- Sources said they want the federal government to focus on providing needed resources to agencies already helping refugees.
- Krish O’Mara Vignaraja, CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told Nerdshala, “We support thoughtful private sponsorship. Adopting a highway is one thing; it’s a whole lot to adopt a family. That’s another thing.”