The U.S. State Department announced Thursday, 19 January, the creation of a new Welcome Corps program that will allow private sponsorship of refugees to help them resettle in the United States.
The Welcome Corps, established with the help of Health and Human Services, will enable private citizens to help refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee admission program.
The state department said the program would build on America’s generosity of spirit by creating a durable program for Americans in communities nationwide to privately sponsor refugees from unstable countries, including Afghanistan, Ukraine and Venezuela.
Blinken said, “Providing a haven and a new home for people fleeing war, violence, and persecution is one of America’s noblest traditions, dating back to our nation’s founding.”
The document added that the program would start in two phases to identify, evaluate, and scale up the most successful elements of private sponsorship as an innovative, community-led resettlement model.
In the program’s first phase, private sponsors participating in the Welcome Corps will be matched with refugees whose cases are already approved for resettlement under the USRAP. The Department of State will facilitate matches between private sponsors and refugees arriving within the first six months of 2023.
In the program’s second phase, which will launch in mid-2023, private sponsors can identify refugees to refer to the USRAP for resettlement and support their identified refugees.
In the first year, the statement added that the program would mobilize more than 10,000 to step forward as private sponsors and offer a welcome hand to at least 5,000 refugees or more.