State Department Launches ‘Sponsor Circles’ Enabling Private Americans to Sponsor Displaced Afghans

Refugees disembark from a US air force aircraft after an evacuation flight from Kabul at the Rota naval base in Rota, southern Spain, on August 31, 2021. - Spain has agreed to host up to 4,000 Afghans who will be airlifted by the United States to airbases in Rota and …
CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. State Department announced a new program on Monday called Sponsor Circles, which enables private citizens to sponsor displaced Afghans.

“The program will enable groups of individuals to form sponsor circles to provide initial resettlement assistance to Afghans as they arrive and build new lives in local communities across the country,” the State Department said.

The launch of Sponsor Circles will be supported by the State Department in partnership with Community Sponsorship Hub (CHS), which is a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc., according to the press release.

The sponsorship program will bring together at least five adults in local communities across the country, who will undergo background checks and fundraise $2,275 for each refugee, according to the program’s website.

Taliban fighters stand guard near the venue of an open-air rally in a field on the outskirts of Kabul on October 3, 2021, as the Taliban supporters and senior figures held their first mass rally in a show of strength as they consolidate their rule of Afghanistan. (Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban fighters stand guard near the venue of an open-air rally in a field on the outskirts of Kabul on October 3, 2021, as the Taliban supporters and senior figures held their first mass rally in a show of strength as they consolidate their rule of Afghanistan. (Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images)

CSH will be in charge of handling the application process, according to the State Department:

CSH will vet and certify sponsor circles by conducting background checks, ensuring the sponsor circles complete mandatory training developed by CSH, and reviewing pledges by sponsor circles to provide financial support and initial resettlement services to Afghan newcomers for the first 90 days after they arrive in a local community.  These services include securing housing, providing for basic necessities (such as clothing, groceries, household furnishings), assisting with access to federal, state, and local benefits, and providing initial orientation to the local community.  Once sponsor circles are certified, CSH will work to match them with arriving Afghans who choose to participate in the program.

Refugees in the United States have been mainly dependent on nonprofits for resettlement services in the past, though nonprofits have struggled with resettling Afghan refugees, according to Axios.

Last week an administration official told the outlet that “agencies had resettled 5,800 Afghans” since August 17. As nonprofits have struggled to resettle refugees, 55,000 afghans still await assistance at military sites, Axios reports.

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