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- A group of at least five adults can apply to be sponsors and need to fundraise $2,275 per refugee.
- The new program could help expedite the resettlement process for thousands of refugees coming to the U.S.
- There are 55,000 refugees awaiting resettlement on military sites.
Americans that want to help Afghan refugees are now able to become certified sponsors, which could help the U.S.’s efforts in resettling thousands of refugees.
The Biden administration announced the news on Monday and is partnering with Community Sponsorship Hub to launch The Sponsor Circle Program. This will allow a group of at least five adults to form a sponsor circle. Background checks will be conducted on each adult participating and fundraising of $2,275 per refugee is required.
Once a group is approved, sponsor circles will be responsible for helping refugees in their first 90 days in the U.S. They will help secure housing, connect children to schools, introduce them to government benefits and help adults find jobs.
During a State Department press briefing on Monday, spokesperson Ned Price told reporters, “This is just another reflection of the tremendous sense of goodwill and generosity of spirit that we have seen from across this country as we have welcomed these Afghan newcomers.”
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Price also explained that the Sponsor Circle Program is not a substitute for the State Department’s resettlement partners, but is complementary.
The new program is a big shift in the U.S. approach to refugee resettlement, which traditionally leaned on nonprofit organizations. An administration official told Axios, since Aug. 17, refugee agencies have resettled 5,800 Afghans. There are still 55,000 on military sites awaiting resettlement.
Canada already has a similar privately sponsored refugee program in place and through this method hopes to resettle 22,500 refugees in 2021.
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