US launches pilot program to enable civilian assistance for refugees from around the world

Washington – The Biden administration is set to unveil a pilot program on Thursday that will allow groups of private American citizens to financially sponsor resettlements. refugees Three people who fled war and violence around the world and were briefed about the announcement told CBS News.

A Department of State initiative called the Welcome Cause has been a key part of U.S. refugee policy because most refugees brought to the U.S. in the last few decades have been resettled by nine federally funded nonprofit organizations. could pave the way for dramatic changes in

The program allows a group of at least five U.S.-based refugees to raise $2,275 per refugee, pass a background check, and submit a plan on how to help newcomers. , the sources said.

Approved private sponsors act as traditional resettlement agencies, providing newly arrived refugees with access to housing and other basic necessities such as food, health services, education and eligible public benefits. We will help you to do so.

The Biden administration initially said it would launch the program by the end of 2022, but in a statement in late December, the State Department said the schedule had changed. In the first phase of the program, officials will match sponsors with overseas refugees who are already admitted to the United States.

The State Department will later introduce an identification component through a pilot program that private sponsors can apply to identify refugees abroad who are referred to (U.S. Refugee Program) and assist in their resettlement as private sponsors. It is.” in a December statement.

The Welcome Corps Initiative is the Biden administration’s latest effort to expand legal immigration channels for refugees and immigrants, and is willing to be financially sponsored by families and others in the United States.

In late 2021, the State Department will approved A “sponsor circle” of at least five individuals to sponsor some of the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who emigrated to the United States after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

Then, in early 2022, officials launched a program to allow Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion of their homeland to come to the United States under humanitarian parole authority if they have a U.S.-based sponsor. have started. According to federal statistics, more than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the United States under this policy.

Authorities have since broadened that approach, as part of an effort to stop immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela from illegally crossing the southern border, allowing U.S.-based individuals to move to Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, We have made it possible to sponsor the entry of citizens from Venezuela. Like Ukrainians, immigrants from these countries are temporarily allowed to legally live and work in the United States through parole authorities.

Unlike refugees arriving under parole authorities, refugees arriving under the sponsorship initiative announced Thursday will be processed through the traditional refugee program, thus giving them permanent legal status and, ultimately, Eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Formally established in 1980, the U.S. refugee program has provided safe haven to more than three million refugees found fleeing conflict, ethnic persecution, and other forms of violence. Refugees undergo interviews, security screenings, and health checks as part of a years-long process before coming to the United States.

President Biden has vowed to rebuild the U.S. refugee system, crumbling by the COVID-19 pandemic and deep Trump-era cuts, but his administration has had a hard time to return refugee intake to pre-pandemic levels and meet his ambitious resettlement goals.

In fiscal 2022, the United States hosted 25,465 refugees, but only used 20% of the 125,000 refugee spots Biden allocated. The United States has resettled fewer than 7,000 refugees in the first three months of fiscal 2023, when Biden once again set a goal of accepting up to 125,000 refugees. numbers show.

While the pandemic temporarily halted refugee intake and slowed refugee interviews, the program argued that refugees represent an economic, national security, and cultural threat to the United States, President Trump’s policy. dramatically reduced under the Directive.

The Trump administration has slashed refugee admissions, allocating a record-low 15,000 slots for fiscal 2021. It also sought to limit the categories of people who could be resettled and to give states and cities veto power over the resettlement of refugees. Trump’s restrictions and record-low caps have forced refugee resettlement nonprofits to lay off personnel and close offices across the country. US launches pilot program to enable civilian assistance for refugees from around the world

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