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USA citizens can now be part of the solution and help resettle refugees in the country

After the positive experience of sponsorship programs dedicated to hosting people fleeing Afghanistan and Ukraine, a program now appears that allows any American citizen to host refugees, helping them to integrate into American society. The program is called Welcome Corps and aims to increase reception capacity within resettlement and accelerate the arrival of people in need of international protection in a safe country.

The nefarious policies of Donald Trump's former cabinet, which reduced the annual quota of resettled people from 70.000 to 15.000, combined with the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the takeover of Kabul and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, led to an exponential reduction in the number of people welcomed. In 2021, only 25,000 people arrived in the U.S., making up about 20% of the 125,000 places made available by President Biden.

The Welcome Corps program follows the Canadian model, allowing groups of at least five people to logistically and financially support refugees in adjusting to life in the U.S. and rebuild their lives. Sponsor groups must support newcomers in finding a home and a job and help navigate the

community and learn the language. It is expected that 5,000 refugees will be hosted in the first year of the programme, helping more people in need and boosting public support for hosting and integrating refugees.

The experiences of the test programs for Afghans and Ukrainians have been very successful, with hundreds of people from over 33 states directly supporting the integration of refugees. Mary Brooks is one such person who joined the movement to help people flee Afghanistan. In December 2021, she and her husband welcomed a family with four children (which in the meantime grew to five), having been “a transformative experience” in which “they received much more than what they gave”.

This is yet another example of how refugee sponsorship programs are a lasting solution to the humanitarian crisis of people forced to flee, creating powerful connections that empower refugees as well as a community that becomes more united and welcoming.

A father of a sponsored family in Chicago shows the welcome poster, made by the sponsoring group when they arrived in the USA, which he still cherishes today.

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