Immigration

The Government Has Struggled To Resettle Evacuated Afghans. A New Program Will Let Private Citizens Pick Up the Slack.

With tens of thousands of Afghans awaiting assistance, the initiative will capitalize on local knowledge and turn resettlement into a bottom-up process.

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On Monday, the U.S. State Department announced that it would launch a private sponsorship program for evacuated Afghans.

Under the Sponsor Circle Program, private citizens will be able to help financially support and resettle evacuated Afghans in new communities across the country. Groups of at least five adults may apply to become sponsors. If they pass background checks, they then commit to raising enough money to support the designated family for up to 90 days. Once approved, groups are responsible for helping Afghans find housing, enroll in schools, and identify medical services.

Previously, nine large refugee agencies coordinated the majority of resettlement through local offices, giving refugees a landing pad and community connections wherever they were sent. But over 100 of those locations closed during the historically low refugee intake under the Trump administration, meaning that options for resettlement are now geographically limited. As a remedy to this capacity issue, the State Department says the Sponsor Circle Program "expands the capacity to resettle arriving Afghans, complementing the work of the State Department's non-profit resettlement agency partners." This dispersed approach will help prevent the clustering that would have occurred if they were only resettled near local offices or forced to stay on military bases.

Resettlement for Afghans thus far has been slow-going. Since August 17, agencies had resettled 5,800 evacuees, while 55,000 are still on military sites, according to Axios. Thousands more may still come to the U.S. as evacuations continue, creating a valuable space for private citizens to assist with resettlement efforts.

"This program showcases the powerful role that individuals can play in coming together to welcome and integrate Afghans into American society, reflecting our spirit of goodwill and generosity," said the State Department in a press release.

The new sponsorship program "centers communities at the heart of the resettlement process," says Matthew La Corte, government affairs manager for immigration policy at the Niskanen Center. "This will give Afghans an immediate support network to help them transition into their new neighborhood."

Other countries have implemented private refugee sponsorship programs to great success, both in terms of community integration and reducing the government's financial burden. In Canada since 2013, more refugees have arrived under the country's private program than through the government pathway. A 2007 analysis found that privately sponsored refugees used far less welfare and reported greater satisfaction with their lives in Canada than their government-sponsored counterparts. Argentina, Australia, France, Germany, and several other countries have implemented or committed to similar initiatives.

"Studies in Canada show that privately sponsored refugees achieve faster and higher-paying employment than government-sponsored refugees," says La Corte. "In the U.S. context, we'd expect that sponsors would expand the social networks of refugees upon arrival, increasing their access to employment opportunities and improving language skills." Since governments do not have the same incentives as private citizens who are responsible for the success of refugees, the latter form of resettlement prioritizes immigrant self-sufficiency.

Private refugee sponsorship also forges deeper bonds between native-born Americans and their new neighbors, according to immigration advocates. "Even those who aren't directly involved in sponsorship often become invested when somebody they know does," says Sam Peak, an immigration policy analyst at Americans for Prosperity. "The mere act of donating a crib to the refugee family down the street can be enough to feel a stake in your new neighbor's success."

In addition to the initiative for Afghans, the State Department plans to unroll a broader private refugee sponsorship program in 2022. That program is poised to include a "naming" step (called "identification" in the State Department's proposal), through which sponsors can identify specific people overseas they would like to assist. The Afghan program as it currently stands does not allow for naming.

"Naming would incentivize community members to step forward to name specific family members overseas, veterans sponsoring the interpreters they worked with, or colleges and universities sponsoring select students," says La Corte. "The inclusion of naming would be one of the most transformative policy proposals in the refugee resettlement arena in the last few decades."

While Americans will have to wait to sponsor specific migrants from overseas, the Afghan program will give them the opportunity to welcome and support their new neighbors, capitalizing on local knowledge and turning resettlement into a bottom-up process.

"All of it has global implications because it gives local people a voice in telling the world what kind of values America stands for," says Peak.

NEXT: Democrats' Proposed 'Billionaire Tax' Is Definitely a Wealth Tax, and It May Be Unconstitutional

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  1. Send them to Martha’s Vineyard and Bernie’s Lake Champlain (third house) mansion.

    1. In Soviet Russia, everyone had three mansions.

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    2. Nah, they will end up in Hayward, California.

    3. The Hamptons, Georgetown, Bel-Aire, Hollywood Hills. I bet Cher is willing to allow a few of them on her property.
      How about nasty Nancy's neighborhood.
      Alec Baldwin spoke up recently on the issue.
      Wherever but make sure they resettle in liberal neighborhoods.

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  2. What a wonderful idea! Every "conservative" that complained about the withdrawal from Afghanistan will SURELY volunteer to pay for transportation and INDUBITABLY host a refugee in their own home. Let's show the Democrats how to do things right!!!!!!

    1. Did this sound clever in your head?

      1. Not only there. It got you to comment, so win-win!!

        1. Not all attention is good.

          1. True dat. I don't know if attracting R Mac's attention is dangerous. Reason has a pretty sorry comment system. No way to review users' prior comments. No notification when someone responds to yours. It's like they're stuck in the 90s.

            1. Definitely not dangerous. But I clearly didn’t respond because your comment was clever.

            2. Well check out the liberal commenters here. They're mostly stuck in the 60s and 70s. To them this is all new.

              1. And ironically, if he could review people’s previous comments we could point him to sarc’s hundreds of posts that are just like his.

            3. Stuck in the 90s pretty much == Matt Welch. 🙂

      2. He mistook the echoes for approval.

      3. I thought it was. It captured the Republican idea of criticizing the Afghanistan withdrawal and those left behind, with the fact that they never really wanted the refugees in the first place. Good job EdG.

    2. NEEDZ MOAR CAPS

      1. ONE CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY OR TOO MANY CAPS.

        1. Cap tax!

          1. $1,000 per cap, with exemptions for capitalization of the first letter in a sentence, proper nouns, and acronyms.

            1. Did this sound funny in your head?

    1. Did this sound funny in your head?

  3. When Liberal commenters on WAPO complain about the treatment of immigrants, I ask them how many they’ll be responsible for. I never get an answer. I expect Liberals will treat this the same way.

    1. unless they live in Red states, then they'll definitely bring in refugees and help them register to vote, even collect their ballots for them in 2022.

      1. So. Coopting well-established Democratic methods.

        1. I mean the Dems in red states will be doing this.

      2. No chance. Leftists want to force you to support their interests. They're not interested in doing anything themselves.

      3. Vote early and vote often is the Dem's motto.

      4. Citizenship is a long and difficult process. It will be a long time before the refugees will be able to vote. Voting is not going to be a priority for these people.

        It just amazes me how people can have such tunnel vision. The entire world, every situation, is colored in red and blue. What these people need are minor things like finding a place to live, things needed for everyday life, help finding work, school for children, stuff like that. Nobody has to help with that. There are a number of charities working to get them resettled.

        1. Of course, because the LieCheatSteal party never wants anyone, who isn't eligible to vote, to cast a ballot.
          No dead people. No illegal aliens. No non-voters, who miraculously have a vote cast for them. No nursing home residents, who don't know which side is up. No out-of-staters, who still vote from their old address. No college kids, who get registered at their temporary residence, then vote absentee from back at home.
          Nah. The LieCheatSteal party would never want to see those people vote.
          Only kidding...those are the LieCheatSteal party's most reliable voters and the ones, who manage to tip the scales, even after the polls are closed.

          1. Actually Jo Jorgensen won but they crossed out the last name and wrote in Biden at the polls.

    2. I'm not surprised that you never get an answer. It's not a good question. People are allowed to notice things are bad without personally doing something about it. It's like hearing someone crying because their child has cancer and asking them when they're getting their oncology degree. It doesn't deserve a response.

      That being said, tens of thousands of people sponsor refugees every year. Believe it or not, lots of people actually believe in the stuff they are espousing.

      1. Fuck you you disingenuous cunt. Getting personally involved to make the world around you align with your stated values is a tiny bit different from a decade long investment in something you'd ethically be barred from anyway. But I get it, you're a leftist so virtue signaling, voting to rob others and vapid snark are all you have.

      2. When will you fix the spelling error in your handle? Again, it is PATHETIC.

      3. Well good, those few who actually want to should be given the full burden.

        And the next one, and the next one....

      4. Like the train in Philadelphia?

  4. This program doesn't sound authoritarian enough. Where's the catch?

    1. To sign up, you (but not your Afghanis) must show proof of vaccination, and any money you spend is not tax deductible, since only the ultra rich would do this, and they must pay their fair share.

  5. Great news! Reason.com's benefactor Charles Koch can always use more imported Brown bodies to clean his toilets for 7 cents per hour.

    #OpenTheBordersToHelpCharlesKoch

  6. So why can't I sponsor a Canadian?

    1. We have to draw the line somewhere, that's why.

    2. They don't speak English.

    3. I guess you clowns haven't heard of Dr Laura.

  7. Afghan billionaires only.

  8. Hey Jeffy, you’re gonna sign up for this, right?

    1. I'm not a refugee, why would I?

      1. Because you’re a good person that cares about the well being of refugees.

        1. Wait, sorry. I forgot we’re dealing with Asians, not Mexicans.

    2. When is Fiona going to sign up for this? She's the one that's all enthusiastic, after all.

  9. It's damn good thing Trump isn't president because these people would still be in Afghanistan. Biden and company basically salvaged these people's lives. It were up to the fascist Republicans well you surely know how fucked they would be. All of these people now have hope and a chance at a good life. Love you Joe Biden. Good work!

    1. Did you also enjoy Hillary's presidency?

    2. Lord of SucksJoesDick doesn't care about American Citizens and LPRs stuck in Afghanistan getting killed and losing any chance at a good life due to sloppy pullout. In fact, he sympathizes with sloppy pullouts.

    1. My sister lives in Seattle as a wild-eyed prog. I get an idea of bad it is because she's not said a word about her life since mid-Obama to me, despite years of initial trumpeting the wonders of Liberaltopia when she moved in.

  10. FYI, Oct 25th had more covid deaths and cases than this time last year, and we have a vaccine. Nothing worth reporting on?

    1. The Delta variant and 60 million unvaxxed would explain it.

      1. Seems that 330 million unvaxxed would have a better shot at having more deaths, but yeah, blame the smaller population and the VAriaNtZ!

        1. Covid only comes out at night to hunt Republicans. If you take the sacred Fauci juice in, you will be safe as long as your subscription is active.

        2. Ooh, using that spelling of “variants” totally owned LoS. How can one argue against such a brilliantly argued argument.

      2. No word on 330,000,000 unvaxxed?

        1. They are all dead now.

          1. I’ve died 3 times in the last 18 months. I’m considering starting a cat cult.

      3. How many were unvaxxed last year at this time?

        1. I grew up living under a sheet of cardboard, walked ten miles to school and back, uphill both ways and only had a hand full cold gravel for breakfast.

    2. Can't be true. Biden promised to shut down the virus and he's done exactly that.

      #LibertariansForBiden

      1. Biden to economy: "Did I say shut down the virus or...?"

    3. There's already been plenty of reporting on how dumb antivaxxers and antimaskers are. They allowed the virus to spread, and volunteered their bodies as living incubators to create new, deadlier variants.

      1. It turns out that vaccinated people can still pass on the virus.

      2. Imagine how many variants we had back in 2020 when everyone was unvaxxeded!

        1. Umm, I don’t know what brilliant point you think you are making, but the delta variant emerged in 2020.

          1. Whooooosh.

      3. And Sanjay Gupta, speaker of unwavering troof!

        Vaccination is not enough by itself to stop the spread of variants, study finds

        (CNN)Vaccination alone won't stop the rise of new variants and in fact could push the evolution of strains that evade their protection, researchers warned Friday.

        They said people need to wear masks and take other steps to prevent spread until almost everyone in a population has been vaccinated.

        FYI, it's been long known that vaccinations can cause the spread of variants. The fact that we suddenly decided they didn't but ONLY in the case of COVID is highly suspicious.

        Even the CNN link above, citing the study that linked variants to vaccinations uses as an excuse to remain locked down, masked and social distanced. The narrative always seems to move in a 'heads-they-win-tails-you-lose' direction.

        Get vaccinated and you can return to normalz!

        I got vaccinated.

        You can't return to normalz! You can still get sicks and spread the disease!

        What does the vaccination do then?

        Instead of the disease hitting you like a truck, it hits you more like a model 3 tesla on autopilot!

        Plus VARIUNTZ!

        Is my vaccine effective against the variant?

        Of course!

        So why are you warning me about the variants!

        Because the unvaxxeded are causing the variuntz!

        Ok, but if I'm vaxxed, and I enter a business which checks your health documents for proof of the medical procedure why is everyone inside still masked and social distanced!

        Because you can still get sick! The unvaxxed are causing VARIUNTZ!

        But there's a study which says the vaccine may be causing the variants, just like over-use of anti-biotics causes resistant bacteria!

        yes, but that's why we must remain masked and social distanced! Because the VARIUNTZ!

        Is there a scenario where we can ever go unmasked and un-social distanced!

        *things* Yes, if we reach 100% vaccination status across the entire globe!

        That's not possible, and even if it were, there's massive evidence of waning vaccine effectiveness.

        BOOOOOSTERRRRRZ!

        Yes, but, Israel is getting a booster every 45 days and.

        I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE JEWS! BOYCOTT ISRAEL!

        1. Nice summary.

        2. Evolution cannot be “pushed”.

          1. ................go away Mike.

          2. Evolution is pushed by pressure all the damn time idiot. That's how evolution proceeds. Life forms respond to protections against threats. How stupid are you mike?

            1. And humans adapt and evolve to combat new threats.

        3. During the Viet Nam war, the hookers in Saigon dosed themselves quite frequently to kill whatever STD they had. The results of course were what no one expected at that time: the creation of more virulent strains of syphilis and gonnarhea.

      4. Just think about how dumb doctors and medical experts are. It took them all the way until 2020 to realize that a piece of cloth over one's face can stop cooties. If people had been masking since the days of Hippocrates, there would be no diseases at all.

        1. Just a tiny piece of cheap cloth with some strings could have stopped the Black Death (considerably less lethal than COVID-19 admittedly, but still something to think about).

          1. Well, they did wear those bird beak masks back then... but those masks were clearly the wrong type. An old t-shirt, that's what'll do ya.

            Also, stay two meters apart (see, that's where us dumb Americans have been done in: we've been standing approximately six inches closer than we should be).

            The metric system, old t-shirts and vaccines that may or may not stop one from catching and passing on disease: the only way out of this existential crisis in which well over 99% of the population will live on, regardless.

          2. 1897 actually. A Polish doctor discovered that respiratory droplets can spread disease. Masks were in widespread use by the 1920s.

      5. Except it's the vaxxed who are driving the virus to evolve into vax-resistant strains. The unvaxxed do not.

      6. I'm confused on how it's just them allowing it to spread, could you elaborate on why "breakthrough" (if we can still call it that legitimately) folks interacting in society would not without out trying to get it mixed-up with being responsible?

  11. So if 5 do-gooders out at the country club get together. they can install an unvetted Afghan refugee family in my neighborhood, safely across town from their own neighborhood, and feel smugly superior for their generosity to the lesser races?

    1. How else could it pan out?

    2. Only if the do-gooders are vaxxed and masked may they feel smugly superior.

  12. I wonder how many of these refugees are men of fighting age?

    1. Are you thinking they should join the US Army?

      1. Since they're already in the Taliban wouldn't that be bigamy?

      2. A lot of them worked for the US Army. Veterans group have taken a lead in getting them here and helping them to resettle.

        1. That's bullshit.
          Hardly any of them worked for the US Army and the veterans groups are working to get the real US Army workers, left behind, out of harms way.
          The ones Zhou Bai-dung picked up, were the most blatant free-loaders - you know, the kind of illegal the LieCheatSteal party loves to flood our culture with.

          1. There are a bunch of good Afghan restaurants here. Try the lamb kabobs or chicken masala.

  13. Holy shit, it's like the gov't is incompetent and inefficient with everything it does and someone recognized it!

    Still see this floating about as well as a brick.

  14. this is the kind of article that makes Reason Mag an embarrassment

    1. How so?

      1. Immigrants are yucky.

        1. sarc’s just here to talk about ideas. Just ask him, he’ll tell you.

  15. Afghan refugees have been coming here since the Soviet invasion. They are a well established community already.

    There are a number of charities working to help resettle those who recently came here.

  16. Good article. This should illustrate that charity is not just a private or a government thing but, one that actually can best be accomplished by working together. Each part working with it strengths. Government has deep pockets to support the effort and local people can best help people integrate.

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