Politics Rundown: Private citizens apply to sponsor Afghan refugees

Biden lays out plan to link refugee families with communities.

Hannah Larson, Freelance Writer

The Biden administration unveiled the new Sponsor Circle Program designed to train Americans who apply to sponsor Afghan refugees. Under this plan, the State Department certifies groups of at least five adults after they successfully pass knowledge and background checks, present a refugee welcome plan and raise $2,275 for each refugee. The Sponsor Circle program then pairs the group with an Afghan refugee family in the community.

The administration designed the program to allow private citizens to sponsor Afghan refugees   to speed up the slow processing that forced Afghans to either stay in primitive camps waiting for  paperwork finalization or start their life in the U.S. without caseworker support. The Community Sponsorship Hub, a nonprofit organization, partnered with the government to link refugees and local services with the help of volunteers. 

AFGHAN REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT

Prior to their arrival in local communities, thousands of Afghan refugees lived on U.S. military bases in temporary housing facilities. Immigration agencies and Airbnb came alongside veterans’ groups seeking to support refugees in the resettlement process. Airbnb continues to work with U.S. resettlement agencies to place Afghan refugees in temporary homes as they transition off military bases.

Snares in the resettlement process included a housing shortage across the U.S. and a measles outbreak that affected over twenty Afghan refugees at bases in Europe and the Middle East. The Sponsor Circle Program also attempts to speed up the slow processing of evacuees that hampers their transition to the U.S.

LOS ANGELES REFUGEE SUPPORT

Los Angeles is home to several organizations that provide practical help for refugees. Miry’s List uses crowdsourcing and donations to provide supplies for displaced Afghans and transform bare apartments into furnished homes. 

The Newcomers Access Center provides immigration resources for refugees and maintains connections with several schools and libraries offering free adult ESL classes. The Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service works with refugees to process visas, adjust green card status and provide legal services. They also meet basic needs with a food pantry, housing help and transportation. 

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