On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, coinciding with World Refugee Day, the first refugees to be privately sponsored by Americans through the Welcome Corps arrived in the United States.
A three-generation Congolese family and an individual from Ethiopia were welcomed to their new communities by their private sponsors in Moorhead and Worthington, Minnesota. Local communities across the country have long been at the heart of our refugee resettlement program. By welcoming these first arrivals, Minnesotans are leading the way as the Department of State rolls out the Welcome Corps nationwide in a groundbreaking innovation to the U.S. approach for resettling refugees.
Over the past two years, Americans from every part of the country have responded enthusiastically to the call to welcome our Afghan allies, Ukrainians displaced by war, and others fleeing persecution. This past January, the Department of State, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, launched the Welcome Corps: a private sponsorship initiative that enables everyday Americans to directly sponsor refugees from around the world to resettle in their communities. The Welcome Corps builds on the enthusiasm Americans have displayed by inviting American citizens and lawful permanent residents, like the sponsors in Minnesota who welcomed these newest arrivals, to do what Americans do best – be generous neighbors, guides, and friends to refugee newcomers as they seek to build new lives in the United States.
The Welcome Corps seeks to mobilize at least 10,000 Americans to step forward as private sponsors in the program’s first year and offer a welcoming hand to resettle at least 5,000 refugees admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. In the first several months since its launch, the Welcome Corps has already generated significant interest, with thousands having already signed up to learn more by email and participate in information sessions. We encourage those of you interested in sponsoring refugees to visit welcomecorps.org to learn more. Engaging in private sponsorship is an opportunity to change lives, including your own.