Biden plots private help for refugee crisis

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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.

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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.
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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”.
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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.”

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