Monday, February 6, 2023

USA: Citizens will be able to help refugees receive

The US government on Thursday launched a program that gives ordinary citizens a chance to participate in rehabilitating the thousands of refugees who enter the country each year.

During the first year of the Welcome Corps program, the State Department aims to recruit 10,000 Americans who can help 5,000 refugees adjust to life in the United States.

“By appealing to the goodwill of American communities, the Welcome Corps will expand our nation’s capacity to warmly welcome more refugees,” the agency said in announcing the program.

Refugees who come to the United States from different parts of the world face completely different lifestyles. To ease the transition, the State Department has traditionally worked with non-profit groups that specialize in refugee affairs. With the new program, five or more Americans can form a group and help fill that same role.

Citizens must apply to privately sponsor refugees for resettlement in the country, and are responsible for raising their own funds to help them through the first 90 days. Their assistance will range from meeting refugees at the airport to helping them find places to stay and enrolling children in schools.

A consortium of nonprofit organizations with experience in refugee resettlement will help oversee background checks and certification of individuals and groups seeking to become private sponsors. It will also provide training so that private sponsors can understand what is needed to help refugees adjust to life in the United States. The consortium will be responsible for monitoring the programme.

The program will be launched in two phases. First, private sponsors will be assigned to refugees who have already been approved for resettlement from the federal Refugee Assistance Program. Which will start during the first half of 2023.

Thereafter, private sponsors would be able to identify refugees abroad whom they wish to help and refer them to the federal Refugee Assistance Program, and provide assistance once they arrive in the country.

The program is separate from a recent initiative that allowed 30,000 people from Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela into the country. They also require a sponsor, but are allowed entry for a two-year humanitarian parole designation that provides resources to obtain permanent residency or naturalization.

Under the refugee program, people fleeing violence and persecution can come to the United States and stay permanently. The United States has received just over 3 million refugees since the Refugee Act was passed in 1980.

The Welcome Corps program was unveiled shortly after a similar, smaller-scale effort, whereby Americans could sponsor citizens from Afghanistan or Ukraine. That program began in October 2021 and has helped just over 800 people reach the United States through a network of 230 certified sponsor circles, totaling nearly 5,000 people.

Sasha Chanoff, founder and CEO of RefugePoint, a Boston-based organization that supports Afghan refugees, said Canada has used a similar model for years to help refugees. Chanoff said the Sponsorship Circle program taps into a tremendous amount of goodwill among the American public to sponsor refugees, something that cuts across political divides.

“This represents a unique opportunity perhaps in our history — certainly in our recent history — to really open up space for Americans to protect lives by sponsoring a family,” he said. “We’ve seen incredible interest among the American public: Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, veterans, from all sides of the political spectrum.”

With an executive order in 2021, President Joe Biden has promised to restore America’s place as the haven of the world and called for private sponsorship of refugees. The country took a step back on the refugee program during the administration of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

But the United States is a long way from meeting Biden’s goal of welcoming 125,000 refugees into the country in fiscal year 2023, as announced Thursday.

Kris O’Mara Wignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service — a nonprofit organization that helps refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants — applauded the Biden administration’s program, which he said “helps refugees and Has the potential to strengthen ties between communities.” That will be their home”. But Vighnaraja also highlighted the low number of refugees admitted.

“The federal government must prioritize accelerating refugee admissions, which are very low this fiscal year. Without urgent action to increase its effectiveness, it may waste the compassion of individual sponsors and the ability of professional organizations in refugee resettlement.” carries the risk of,” he said in a statement.

Under Secretary of State Juliette Wallace Noyce told reporters Thursday that the agency responsible for interviewing refugees abroad conducted more than 20,000 interviews in the first quarter of the year and was “confident” that the number of refugees would increase in the coming months. will increase. Coming to the country

Nation World News Desk
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