American News Sep 15, 2021 5:38 PM EST

Biden administration plans to unveil private refugee sponsorship program

The Biden administration will be unveiling next year its plans for a private refugee sponsorship program that allows private organizations and groups to financially support refugees.

Biden administration plans to unveil private refugee sponsorship program
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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As vulnerable Afghan refugees travel to and get settled within the Untied States, the Biden administration will be unveiling next year its plans for a private refugee sponsorship program that allows private organizations and groups to financially support refugees.

According to Axios, plans are currently being put together by the State Department to allow private companies, advocacy groups and local communities to bring in and directly support refugees, also allowing said groups to provide support to Afghans "paroled" in America.

The plans follow in the footsteps of President Biden's signing of an executive order earlier this year calling for updating and innovations within the refugee process, including "effectively employing technology and capitalizing on community and private sponsorship of refugees."

Currently, "nine U.S. refugee agencies work with the federal government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide care for people resettled in the country," wrote Axios.

The administration's plan would build upon the eagerness voiced by US companies and individuals to assist Afghan refugees.

Welcome.us, a similar effort, was launched on Tuesday, backed by former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton. It creates a centralized location for Americans to donate or volunteer with refugee agencies.

The program would be similar to Canada's private refugee resettlement system, where groups of five or more Canadians for privateer organizations that want to sponsor a refugee can locate an approved refugee on lists provided by the government.

Details of the upcoming police are still being worked out by the State Department, including the exact timing, how many people are required to sponsor a refugee, and how much private resettlement could happen without oversight from refugee agencies.

During a call Tuesday, Senior government officials said that "companies, philanthropies, universities, veterans groups and other private organizations have expressed interest in funding, sponsoring and otherwise supporting Afghans," according to Axios.

One government official said they would release more details on their involvement with Welcome.us "In the coming days."

"The passion around this group in the United States is extraordinary," Gregory Maniatis, director of Open Society Foundations' International Migration Initiative, told Axios. "There is an enormous pent-up demand to be involved in the process of welcoming."

Maniatis noted that private sponsorship of refugees could allow specializes organizations to help vulnerable groups, "such as veterans groups sponsoring allies they worked with in Afghanistan," wrote Axios.

While people are passionate about helping, some refugee agencies are hesitant about the thought of private sponsorship.

"We support private sponsorship done thoughtfully. It's one thing to adopt a highway; it's a whole other to adopt a family," Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told Axios.

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