Jan. 19 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department announced Thursday the creation of a new program that will allow private sponsorship of refugees to help them resettle into the country.
The Welcome Corps, created with the help of Health and Human Services, will allow private citizens to help refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
“The Welcome Corps will build on Americans’ generosity of spirit by creating a durable program for Americans in communities across the country to privately sponsor refugees from around the world,” the state department said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the program allows U.S. residents to take part in assisting immigrants through a specific government-sponsored program, taking advantage of systems already in place.
“Providing a safe haven and a new home for people fleeing war, violence and persecution is one of America’s noblest traditions, dating back to the founding of our nation,” Blinken said in a video statement.
“Throughout our history, our country has benefited from the energy, the ingenuity, the hard work of refugees. American communities have long been at the heart of welcoming refugees, whether they were escaping the horrors of World War II, the repression of autocrats or persecution because of who they were or what they believed.”
The Welcome Corps will be rolled out in two phases, the State Department said. Those phases will identify, evaluate and scale up the most successful elements of private sponsorship as an innovative, community-led model of resettlement.
It will match refugees with cases already approved for resettlement under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. The department will start facilitating matches between private sponsors and refugees arriving within the first six months of 2023.
The second phase will allow private sponsors to identify refugees to refer to the USRAP for resettlement and support the refugees they have identified.