Americans can sponsor refugees directly under program starting this week – Portal

Americans can sponsor refugees directly under program starting this week – Portal

WASHINGTON, Jan 18 (Portal) – Groups of Americans will be able to directly sponsor refugees for resettlement in the United States under a new program starting Thursday, three people familiar with the matter told Portal , a move that could strengthen licensing and reduce government costs.

Under the pilot program, which will be called the Welcome Corps, groups of at least five people are expected to raise at least $2,275 per refugee assigned to them by the government, one of the people said. The sponsor groups must also pass background checks and create a support plan.

The program aims to find US sponsors for 5,000 refugees in fiscal year 2023, which ends Sept. 30, another source said.

The individual sponsorship program for refugees – similar to a model in Canada – is part of a broader effort by US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, to provide Americans with opportunities to support foreigners seeking protection.

Earlier this month, Biden introduced a humanitarian entry program that allows up to 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter the country on “parole” if they have US sponsors and are traveling by air. The government also used probation to take in Afghans and Ukrainians and piloted sponsorship programs to support them in the United States.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Welcome Corps program will accept refugees through the US Refugee Resettlement Program, which accepts remittances from the United Nations and US embassies. Biden capped 125,000 refugee admissions this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2022, but only 6,750 arrived from October through December, according to program data.

The United States has severely restricted the entry of refugees under former Republican President Donald Trump, who portrayed them as a security threat. Admissions have yet to recover to pre-Trump levels.

Sasha Chanoff, founder of RefugePoint, which identifies people in need of relocation, said the sponsorships could be one of the most significant developments for the US refugee program since it began in 1980.

“It invites Americans to get involved in new ways,” he said.

Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington; Edited by Mica Rosenberg and Rosalba O’Brien

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