Today, the U.S. Department of State announced the launch of the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghans, which will revolutionize the way Americans support refugees. This program allows communities in the U.S. to welcome displaced Afghans by pairing refugee families with groups of Americans who have committed to receiving them and received training to do so. RefugePoint is joining a coalition of organizations in launching the program.
It is perhaps the most significant innovation in U.S. refugee resettlement since the 1980 Refugee Act, which established the modern-day United States Refugee Admissions Program. Sasha Chanoff, RefugePoint’s Founder and CEO, was interviewed on NBC News to discuss the program and its significance.
The Sponsor Circle Program expands the domestic resettlement capacity, decimated over the past four years of low refugee arrivals, to support Afghans and harnesses the power of communities that express interest in welcoming refugees.
Launched today, this program comes at a critical moment in time to address the unprecedented nature of the evacuation of Afghan refugees. There is a sense of urgency to help the 55,600 Afghans on eight military bases in the U.S. to integrate into communities across the country as quickly as possible.
“Beyond increasing the country’s resettlement capacity, the Sponsor Circle Program helps sustain and magnify key values in the national character. The program reconfirms and energizes America’s identity as a country formed through its embrace of immigrants and refugees,” said Sasha Chanoff.
For many years, RefugePoint has been identifying Afghan refugees abroad as part of our efforts to resettle at-risk refugees. The organization is also a recognized innovator in the refugee response field. It has pioneered new programs, such as an effort to reunite unaccompanied children with parents, and forges and joins coalitions, including the Sponsor Circle Program, to bring these programs to scale.
RefugePoint has a unique role in the launch and operation of the Sponsor Circle Program: the organization is sending staff to U.S. military bases to identify Afghans for this program and connect them with sponsor circles. We are excited to play this distinct role at this moment in American history and believe this program can serve as a model for eventual expansion overseas. This program is not government-funded. RefugePoint needs to raise private funds for this effort.
In addition to RefugePoint, the coalition partners in the Sponsor Circle Program include Airbnb.org, the Community Sponsorship Hub, the International Rescue Committee, Integrated Refugee & Immigration Services, and Welcome.US.
Groups or individuals who are interested in participating in the Sponsor Circle Program may find more information on how to apply here.
Without this program, the U.S. will be unable to meet the immediate resettlement needs of the Afghan evacuees. Support this vital work today.