The State Department on Thursday launched a program that will allow civic groups to sponsor refugees from around the world so that they can live in the United States.
the secretary of state Anton Blinkensaid in a statement that the Welcome Corps was “the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in four decades.”
“This initiative allows Americans to provide direct support the refugees and show the best of American hospitality and generosity,” he added on Twitter.
The program allows groups of at least five people to apply as refugee sponsors and help them settle in the country for two to three months, he said.
These groups are supported by a consortium of non-profit resettlement organizations. “In the first year of the Reception Corps, the State Department will seek to mobilize 10,000 Americans to volunteer as private sponsors and host at least 5,000 refugees,” Blinken said.
“The Department of State, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, is pleased to announce the creation of the Welcome Corps, a new privately sponsored program that enables ordinary Americans to play a leadership role in welcoming refugees who are over The United States arrives at the Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) and supports their resettlement and integration as they build a new life in the United States,” the statement said.
sponsors must raise at least $2,275 per refugee “To provide initial support to refugees in the first three months in the country”.
However, they are under no obligation to provide ongoing financial support to the refugees they choose to help. “The goal is for them to become self-sufficient as quickly as possible,” said Blinken.
According to the official statement, the action came after a year in which “the American people have extended an extraordinarily welcoming hand to him our Afghan, war-displaced Ukrainian and Venezuelan alliesand others fleeing violence and oppression.”
“In the first phase of the program, private sponsors participating in the Welcome Corps will be matched with refugees whose cases have already been approved for resettlement under USRAP. The State Department will begin facilitating matches between private sponsors and refugees arriving in the first half of 2023,” the text highlights.
He explains that in the second phase of the program, scheduled to start in mid-2023, private sponsors can identify and refer refugees to USRAP for resettlement and provide targeted support.
Several Cubans could benefit from this measure after the US reported it last year the program for Cuban citizens wishing to emigrate to the United States for reasons of political persecution would remain frozen with no planned reopening date, despite urgent calls from activists and human rights organizations to reactivate it as an immediate priority.
The USRAP closed to Cuba in 2017 following the closure of the US Embassy in Havana. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs last August considered that the procedure for restoring this immigration option will not be available in the short term as part of the gradual normalization of consular services at this diplomatic headquarters, which has started processing pending family reunification cases since May 3 .
interrogated by CyberCuba on this occasion the Undersecretary for Hemispheric Affairs, Brian A NicholsHe acknowledged that at the moment the Havana embassy “is not able to increase services in other areas, such as the refugee program”.
However, lawyers and human rights groups believe that the resumption of the refugee program was an emergency situation for Cuba given the escalation of repression faced by hundreds of Cuban activists and their families, particularly protesters of the July 11, 2021 social outburst across most of the country .