For $2.3K, Americans Can Sponsor a Refugee

Welcome Corps initiative allows citizens to help displaced people make a home in the US
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2023 4:15 PM CST
For $2.3K, Americans Can Sponsor a Refugee
Mariam Walizada, center, who fled Afghanistan with her family, sits with two of her daughters Hasnat, left, and Kainat Amy, right, Sept. 15, 2022, at their home, in Epping, NH.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Ordinary Americans can apply to sponsor refugees on an expanded basis through a new effort expected to assist with the Biden administration's goal of welcoming 125,000 refugees this fiscal year. Nine federally funded nonprofits have helped settle most refugees in the US since 1980, though recent trials have involved the private sponsorship of displaced people from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, per the New York Times. Now, through the Welcome Corps initiative announced by the State Department, US citizens and permanent residents will be able to logistically and financially sponsor refugees for resettlement more broadly.

The program—modeled on Canada's Private Sponsorship of Refugees program established in 1979, per CBS News—is "the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in four decades," Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Thursday. Groups of at least five people can sponsor refugees at a cost of $2,275 per individual. Sponsors, who need to submit an assistance plan, will be responsible for helping the new arrivals access basic necessities—including food, housing, medical care, and education—for at least 90 days. The State Department will match sponsors and refugees initially. However, it expects to allow sponsors to select individuals to be vetted later this year.

It hopes to place at least 5,000 refugees with help from 10,000 private sponsors in the initiative's first year, with the first arrivals expected in April. "We hope [the program] will become as widely known and engage as many Americans as the Peace Corps," Julieta Valls Noyes of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration tells the Times. Similar programs in place in about 15 countries have been "deemed widely successful by resettlement experts," the outlet reports, adding the US program "could substantially increase the number of displaced people resettled" and "defray the cost for the government."

story continues below

Federally funded nonprofits were forced to shed staff and "shutter operations in many places" when the Trump administration cut annual refugee allotments, according to the outlet. Crises that followed in Afghanistan and Ukraine only added to the pressure. The Biden administration aims to welcome 125,000 refugees in the fiscal year ending in October, though only 6,750 had arrived by the end of December. (More refugees stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.