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Sponsor Circle for Resettlement
of Afghan Evacuees

Resettlement of Afghan Evacuees in the United States.

Photo: A contractor speaks with an Afghan evacuee on the possible resettlement locations across the United States at Aman Omid Village in Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Oct. 23, 2021. The Defense Department through Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities. Photo by Army Spc. Jose Escamilla, October 23, 2021.


As the news spreads about the Department of States new program for assisting Afghan evacuees more articles are being published about it. Traditionally the US government has relied on private relocation agencies and nonprofits, however, the massive intake of Afghan refugees in a short period has stressed that system. “Any US Citizen Can Now Sponsor Afghan Refugees, Coffee or Die Magazine, October 25, 2021.

The recently announced Department of State initiative entitled Sponsor Circles has generated some excitement. The prospect of increasing the ability to help Afghan evacuees has raised hopes that the resettlement process will be less stressful and more responsive and effective. But there are some questions. For instance, slide 28 entitled “Benefits and Services Alert has some unsettling news for those looking to use the program – some federal benefits may be eliminated for those participating in the Sponsor Circle program. This is a case where you have to read the fine print; DoS must have had some lawyers crafting this program.

The arrival of thousands of Afghan evacuees on eight U.S. military installations has stressed a system that has not seen any updates for over 40 years (1980). The refugee resettlement program has not seen significant changes since the culminating days of the Vietnamese boat people exodus of the late 1970s. To increase options for evacuees the resettlement program will now allow veterans with ties to Afghans (and others) the opportunity to bring them to communities and serve as a support network for them. Among the changes, the new initiative would allow groups of five individuals over the age of 18 to apply as a so-called sponsor circle. This could be a bit of a game-changer for some Afghan evacuees. “White House makes massive change to resettlement program to help Afghan refugees”, CNN Politics, October 23, 2021. See also“Launch of the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghans”, U.S. Department of State, October 25, 2021.

Visit the Sponsor Circles website at https://www.sponsorcircles.org/


News Articles about the Sponsor Circle Program

January 17, 2022, "How to sponsor an Afghan refugee family", by Sigan Samuel, Vox.com.

December 19, 2021, "Would You Sponsor an Afghan Refugee?", by Farah Stockman, The New York Times.

 

 

 


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