The United States has undertaken urgent initiatives to restore, strengthen, and modernize the USRAP. Though the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the program’s rebound from heavy cuts to operational capacity by the previous administration, we are making significant progress towards fulfilling President Biden’s ambitious target to admit 125,000 refugees annually—a level not achieved in three decades. The Administration’s robust responses to humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Ukraine prompted unprecedented efforts and required a significant attention and resources. Even so, more than 25,000 refugees were resettled in Fiscal Year 2022, doubling the previous year’s total, and through Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), more than 80,000 Afghans were also resettled through the same domestic refugee resettlement infrastructure.
In FY 2023, the United States continues our efforts to rebuild and enhance the USRAP, implementing including by implementing actions stemming from an ongoing review being led by a White House-appointed Special Advisor for Refugee Admissions. We expect the innovations and efficiencies gained through this intensive effort will provide new hope and opportunities to all refugees in our program, including Afghans fleeing the Taliban’s repression, Venezuelans in need of protection, and Burmese Rohingya, among many others. The Administration remains focused on expanding the resettlement of key populations of concern, including Central Americans, LGBTQI+ refugees, at-risk Uyghurs, Hong Kong refugees, Ukrainian refugees, Syrian refugees, and individuals persecuted for their religious beliefs.
In addition to these efforts on the USRAP, the Administration is reinvigorating U.S. global leadership in refugee resettlement. In 2022, the U.S. government co-led the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, alongside Refugee Council USA, to strengthen global resettlement practices and expand resettlement spaces worldwide. In 2023, the Department of State is taking forward a mA, including several capacity-building measures to support new partners.
Private Sponsorship and The Welcome Corps: In early 2023, Secretary Blinken announce the launch of Welcome Corps, through which Americans can directly sponsor refugees arriving through the USRAP, providing the essential initial resettlement assistance needed to help them integrate into their new communities. The Welcome Corps is designed to strengthen and expand our country’s capacity to resettle refugees by harnessing the energy of private sponsors from all walks of life across American society – including members of faith and civic groups, veterans, diaspora communities, businesses, colleges and universities, and other community organizations. Find more information at www.welcomecorps.org.
Refugee Referrals: The Department of State is working with existing and new NGO direct referral partners to increase equitable access to the USRAP for highly vulnerable refugees in need of resettlement who are unlikely to be reached through other referral mechanisms. This effort intends to provide particularly vulnerable populations including LGBTQI+ persons, victims of severe xenophobic violence, gender-based violence survivors, journalists, political dissidents, Uyghurs, and others with access to resettlement as a durable solution. These efforts prioritize refugee populations that have been historically neglected, marginalized, or otherwise difficult to access through traditional resettlement services. These non-profit partners will provide greater access to durable solutions and a new life for those who are unable to integrate in their current country of asylum and face marginalization, discrimination, or worse, in their current location.
Resettlement Diplomacy: The United States continued to leverage its humanitarian leadership to expand resettlement as a durable solution for refugees globally. The Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, which spanned from June 2021 through June 2022 and were co-chaired by the United States, were an important part of the larger effort to increase resettlement spaces worldwide and expand durable solutions available to refugees around the world. This multilateral event drew 28 states and 52 non-governmental organizations. The United States also continued to encourage other countries to do more to protect stateless people and prevent new situations of statelessness, including by implementing universal birth registration and reforming nationality laws. For many stateless people, resettlement can provide a path to naturalization or citizenship, resolving their stateless status and providing access to rights.
Going forward, the U.S. government is engaging partner resettlement countries to advance strategic, shared policy priorities for increasing third country solutions for refugees through collective action. The United States seeks to engage other resettlement countries to drive an ambitious shared agenda around the global expansion of resettlement programs, modernization of global resettlement infrastructure, cultivation of new resettlement countries, and growth of additional innovative pathways to support refugees, including complementary pathways and humanitarian admissions programs. This effort will also build on the rapid response mechanisms and coordination initiatives created around responses to the Afghanistan evacuation and the Ukraine crisis.