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MODERATOR:  Good morning everyone. This is [Moderator]. Welcome to today’s call for the launch of the Welcome Corps. This call is on the basis of a senior State Department official and is embargoed until it is completed. For your information only and not for reporting, our speaker is [Senior State Department official]. I will now turn the floor over to [Senior Secretary of State’s Official] for opening remarks, and then we will take a few of your questions. [Senior State Department Official], please continue.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  Thank you very much, [Moderator]. So good morning everyone, and thank you all. Earlier today, Secretary Blinken announced the launch of Welcome Corps, our new private sponsorship program for refugees. The Welcome Corps is the boldest innovation we have made in our approach to refugee resettlement in over four decades.

Since 1980, the State Department has primarily partnered with nonprofit resettlement agencies to provide initial resettlement assistance to refugees newly arrived in the United States. But to strengthen and expand our nation’s capacity to resettle refugees, the Welcome Corps will create new opportunities for ordinary Americans across the country to directly support resettlement by allowing them to privately sponsor refugees from around the world through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program , or USRAP as we call it for short. The Welcome Corps builds on our nation’s proud tradition of providing refuge and inviting Americans to serve as neighbors, guides and friends to newly arrived refugees as they build new lives in the United States.

Through the Welcome Corps, Americans will form private sponsoring groups to support refugees and help them integrate into American society as thriving members of their communities. Welcome Corps will harness the enthusiasm, energy and generosity of Americans from all walks of life who will step forward as private sponsors, including members of faith and civic groups, veterans, diaspora communities, businesses, colleges and universities, and other community groups and institutions. When Americans come together to extend a warm welcome to refugees, they will not only make a difference in the lives of the refugees they support; they will also contribute to enriching and strengthening their own communities in the process.

Now, the Welcome Corps is distinct from the humanitarian parole programs the Department of Homeland Security has established for Ukrainians, Venezuelans and other specific populations. In these programs, sponsors must demonstrate that they can support the parolees financially for a two-year parole period.

The Welcome Corps, on the other hand, will enable private sponsors to support refugees of all nationalities who are permanently resettled in the United States through the USRAP and who ultimately can—and in many cases, I’m sure will—become American citizens. Private sponsors will receive guidance and support from resettlement experts throughout the process. All refugees supported by private sponsors will be cleared through the same extensive security screening required for all refugees admitted to the United States through USRAP.

The State Department funds a consortium of nonprofit organizations that are experts in welcoming, resettling, and integrating refugees into American communities to support the program. This consortium will manage the program’s infrastructure, including overseeing an application process through which private sponsors will be screened, vetted and approved to accept the refugees. The consortium will also provide training to the sponsors before they begin their sponsorship.

In the welcome corps’ first year, our goal is to mobilize at least 10,000 Americans to step forward as private sponsors and offer a welcoming hand to at least 5,000 refugees. Time and again we have seen the generosity and hospitality of the American people to newcomers. If more than 10,000 sponsors join the welcome corps, we will seek to pair additional sponsors with these refugees in need.

And you can give – you can find more information about the Welcome Corps at welcomecorps.org. And with that, I’m happy to take questions.

OPERATOR:  Ladies and gentlemen, for questions, if you haven’t already, please press 1, 0 on your telephone keypad. Pressing 1, 0 a second time will remove you from the queue. And a moment while we get the questions in line.

MODERATOR: Great. Can we please go to Jennifer Hansler’s line from CNN?

OPERATOR:  Mrs. Hansler, your line is open. Go ahead, please.

QUESTION:  Hello, thank you very much for calling. I have a couple of questions. I know there is a minimum amount that these – or potential sponsors have to raise, but do they continue to help financially once their refugees are in the country and how does that process work?

And how many employees in these local partner organizations do you expect to work on this? Are they staffing up in preparation for this new initiative? Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Such good questions, Jennifer. That – in response to the first question about whether sponsors will be obliged to provide ongoing financial support, the answer is no. The sponsors must raise the initial amount of $2,275 per refugee in order to provide the initial support to the refugees during their first three months in the country, and that money does not go as direct cash support to the refugees. Instead, these funds are used to do things like put a deposit on an apartment or buy winter clothes or furniture, providing the resources that the refugees need during the first three months. After that, the refugees become eligible for other federal programs, and frankly, the refugees will hopefully have found jobs as well. This is one of the things that the sponsors will help them with, because the goal is for the refugees to become self-sufficient as soon as possible.

So the initial funding that the sponsors raise is only for the first three months and then they will provide support and guidance and services like connecting them to schools to register their children or showing them where the local pharmacy is and showing them, which bus to take to get to work – that sort of thing. But again, the goal is for them to become as self-reliant as possible as quickly as possible, so that they pay their own way like everyone else who lives in this country. They will have access, as I mentioned, to these additional federal programs for the subsequent nine months, just as some may have access to Medicare, for example.

The second question was — I — Jennifer, I don’t remember what your second question was, but I have my colleague [Senior State Department Official Two] who is my senior adviser here in the bureau and is very involved in that. And she’s signaling to me that she can take that question, so I’ll kick it over to her. And our understanding is that anyone who answers your questions will simply be referred to as a senior official.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  So I’m kicking it—I’m sending it to [Senior State Department Official Two] now because I literally can’t remember the second question.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO:  Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for your question. If I recall correctly, you asked about the staffing capacity across the consortium organizations that we work with to support this program. There are six organizations that we fund as part of the consortium of partners that we work with to support this program. Excuse me. The six organizations – organizations with dedicated expertise in the resettlement and integration of refugees across communities in the United States, and together these six organizations are either leveraging their existing staff and expertise or – and/or staffing up to support these efforts.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much. Can we please go to Ted Hesson’s line from Reuters?

QUESTION:  Hi, thank you all for being on the call. And I would say in the future if you have an announcement like this, it would be greatly appreciated if the press gets a heads-up before the announcement comes out rather than an early morning announcement. But my question is about supervision. Is there a way that the State Department will be able to enforce that the refugees receive adequate housing or are not subject to labor abuse when they are brought into the United States?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  That’s a good question, Ted, and it’s really important because when we bring people into this country to start a new life here, obviously it’s important that we make sure that they’re treated well and respectfully and in accordance with all our laws. The private sponsors who will sponsor refugees through this program will be vetted before they are approved to sponsor refugees and this is to ensure the safety and security of the refugees as we very carefully process the refugees for safety and security in the United States before they come here. So they will be subject to the first investigation.

In addition, the consortium that we have put together to support the sponsors will provide training to the sponsors before they go all in – throughout the process of sponsoring the refugees, and the consortium will also check in regularly – sorry, an extra step. The private sponsors must provide a welcome plan, it says, where they set out what their plan is to receive the refugees, how they will go about finding housing or linking them to schools or jobs and all that. They will put together a detailed plan that the consortium will review.

And then the consortium continuously checks in with both the sponsors and the refugees to ensure that everything is going according to plan. So there are many, many checkpoints, many, many failsafes, controls – all of that is part of this program to prevent abuse. That said, I think we’re really excited about the program. We think it’s going to be really successful, and we’ve seen how related sponsorship programs have worked in the US and heard a lot of really good stories. But it’s a good question and thanks for raising it.

MODERATOR:  Thank you. Can we please go to Michelle Hackman’s line from The Wall Street Journal?

QUESTION:  Hello with [Senior State Department official One]. Thank you for calling. I’m curious if you can talk about how this program will work in the long term. I know the target here is to recruit 5,000 refugees through the private sponsor channel, but in the future is the idea that this will be included under the existing refugee cap, or will it actually expand the number of refugees you are able to resettle?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  So thanks for that question, Michelle. The plan is that these — that this initiative — private sponsorships and the refugees resettled through this program will contribute to the overall goal that the — the goal that the president has set for us of 125,000 refugees admitted per year. It’s going to take a lot of work to get to that level, and it’s going to take a lot of different initiatives, and we’re going to be doing a lot of different things at once. This program of private sponsorship is one aspect of achieving the President’s goals.

We have other initiatives underway to grow and modernize the U.S. The Refugee Admissions Program and the resettlement that we do through our traditional resettlement agency partners. Some of the initiatives we’re doing in that regard are working on ways to speed up refugee screening while maintaining the integrity and security of screening and the other aspects of the program.

We are also looking to expand the types and number of ways we can get refugees referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for resettlement in the United States, including we have traditionally accepted referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but we are expanding NGO referral pathways, and in the second phase of the private sponsorship program we will accept referrals from private sponsors themselves that they can indicate , which refugees they would like to apply to sponsor. And if these refugees meet all the requirements for resettlement in the United States, and if the proposed sponsors meet all the requirements to be part of the program, it will be—they can pair themselves that way.

But all these programs, all these initiatives, must be taken together and complement each other, and they all aim to achieve the ambitious goal that the President has set for us. So we’re doing a lot of things in parallel, but the plan is to bring all those numbers together to meet the goals that the president has set.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much. Can we please go to Leon Bruneau’s line at AFP?

QUESTION:  Yes, hi. Hello. Thanks for having this. A few questions for you. As far as you know, is this world news? And could you explain a little bit what this new private sponsorship program is based on? I mean, is there a precedent, another model that exists that this would be based on?

And may I also ask you:  Will there be financial incentives for the sponsors to participate in this program or is it just based on their own finances? Those are the two questions I have.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  Good questions, Leon, so thanks for them. So the first is whether there are any global precedents for private sponsorship models, and the answer is yes, there is. The Government of Canada, the people of Canada, have used this model for a number of years and it has been very successful there. And we’re very grateful to our friends and allies in Canada who gave us a lot of advice as we designed this program, and we’re really, really grateful to them for that.

We also have some models that we’ve used in the United States that are similar but different from this because we have a number of parole programs that the Department of Homeland Security has rolled out in recent months to respond to the needs of the Afghans— Operation Allies Welcome, as well as people fleeing the fighting in Ukraine, which was Uniting for Ukraine, and some recent announcements about parole programs for Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Haitians, and Cubans.

In these programs, private Americans or legal permanent residents could sponsor people to come to the United States for a two-year parole period. And we learned some lessons from that program. The difference with the Welcome Corps is that people who arrive for refugee resettlement come from all countries, they are eligible to come from all countries around the world, and they come for permanent resettlement in the United States.

But we certainly learned from our Canadian allies, from their program; we took lessons from the temporary parole programs that Homeland Security has put together recently, and they have helped inform our design of the Welcome Corps.

Your second question was whether there were financial incentives for sponsors to do this, and the answer is no, there isn’t. Sponsors do this because they want to help people in need. In fact, they are required to raise funds to be able to sponsor the refugees, and to do so as an act of compassion, an act of welcome. There may be some cases, because it is a private-public partnership, where private philanthropy can step up to help private sponsors raise the necessary funds to meet the needs of the refugees. But none of the private sponsors would benefit financially from resettling refugees.

That being said, I am 100 percent sure that anyone who joins this program will benefit in many, many other ways. And we’ve seen and heard testimony from people, for example, who participated as private sponsors of Afghans in Operation Allies Welcome, I’ve heard personal testimony from people who said to me: We got so much more out of this program than the Afghans; this has been such a great opportunity to help people in need; we have learned so much; we just got so much out of bringing these people into our community. And from the sense of community that was created around welcoming these refugees. We have seen how groups of people from faith communities or from civic organizations, Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, have all come together to support these new arrivals.

One of the most moving things I saw – and I’m sorry to go on a bit, but I’m getting excited about this. But one of the most moving things we saw about the efforts to welcome Afghans to the United States is that one of the groups that rose up in the greatest numbers were people who had arrived as refugees themselves. So Vietnamese boat people have really come forward in very large numbers to welcome Afghans and really say they feel the need to pay it forward.

So will they benefit financially? Absolutely not. Will they benefit in other ways? Absolutely so.

MODERATOR:  Great, thank you very much. We have time for one last question, and it will go to – and sorry if I’m pronouncing this wrong – Jamin Anderson on Radio Asia.

QUESTION:  Thank you. Yes, it’s Jamin. Thank you for taking my question. So I guess a lot of the refugees that will benefit from this program will probably come from countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine, right, especially this year. But I wondered if this program includes North Korean refugees who are waiting to receive US refugee status in a third country. And also, will this program make changes to the refugee screening process, perhaps speed up the process? Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  Thank you, Jamin, for these questions. So the first thing – in answer to your first question, who will benefit, this program is intended to benefit refugees from all over the world, anyone who is already in the pipeline of cases referred for resettlement to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program of the UN High Commissioner for refugees, regardless of the country they come from. And there may be Ukrainians, there may be Afghans, but we certainly expect to see people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or from Burma who would be the beneficiaries of this program. If there are people from North Korea within that pipeline, they could certainly benefit from being received and resettled in the United States through private sponsorship.

And in terms of whether this program will help speed up—or, sorry, whether this program will change the requirements for refugee resettlement, the answer to that is absolutely not. Every refugee that we admit into the United States goes through a rigorous screening process with biographical and biometric screening, and there are very, very careful security measures that we have in place. In fact, refugees who arrive in the United States are the most vetted individuals that we admit into this country. These requirements will remain the same whether they come through traditional resettlement routes or whether they come through private sponsorship.

And I think you had asked if we’re going to speed up refugee resettlement or—excuse me—refugee processing, and the quick answer to that is that we’re working on that in a number of other ways as well and trying to speed up processing and at the same time maintain process integrity and security and seek to clear out pipeline cases from the past. But the requirements remain the same.

MODERATOR: Great. Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have for questions. But I would like to leave it to our speakers for any closing remarks.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE:  So thank you all. We are really excited about this program. We think it’s a great thing. We believe it’s an opportunity for Americans across the country, from all walks of life, from every faith tradition or no faith tradition, from schools, from civic organizations, and everywhere in the country, including places where we don’t already. have resettlement options – we think it’s a great option.

And to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, we have created a great website and I invite you to visit it. It’s welcomecorps.org. There is a wealth of information there that I think will answer any questions we didn’t get to cover today. But thank you all so much for participating and please help us spread the word.

MODERATOR: Great. Thank you very much, everyone. Thanks to our speaker. That concludes today’s call. As a reminder, today’s call was in the background and all speakers on the call were to be credited as senior State Department officials. This call has been embargoed until its end, which of course is now. Thank you all so much for joining us this morning. Appreciate it.

Where can Americans go without a visa?

What countries can a US citizen visit without a passport? Where can I travel without a passport? To see also : South Dakota is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s broad efforts to protect the elderly.

  • Best places to travel without a US passport.
  • Puerto Rico.
  • US Virgin Islands.
  • The Northern Mariana Islands.
  • American Samoa.
  • Guam.
  • Canada.
  • Mexico.

How many countries can a US citizen visit without visa?

As of July 15, 2022, US passport holders can travel to 186 countries and territories without a travel visa or with a visa on arrival.

Where can a US citizen stay the longest without a visa?

Ecuador â 90 days, but you can extend by another 90 days. Colombia – 90 days, but you can extend by another 90 days. On the same subject : Appointment of Ambassador Nina Hachigian as Special Representative for Subnational Diplomacy – United States Department of State. New Zealand â 90 days, but can extend up to 9 months for a total of 18 months.

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Is Israel a rich or Poor country?

RankCountryGDP-CCP ($)
32New Zealand50,411
33Italy50,216
34Israel50,204
35Japan48,814

What makes Israel a rich country? Israel has a technologically advanced market economy, with cut diamonds, high-tech equipment and pharmaceuticals among its major exports. The country is very highly developed in terms of life expectancy, education, income per capita. See the article : Patient Care Assessments. per capita and other human development index indicators.

Where does Israel rank in wealth?

Indicators of the economy in Israel. Worldwide gross domestic product in 2021 was around USD 12,230 per inhabitant. GDP in Israel, on the other hand, reached $52,171 per capita, or $488.53 billion for the entire country. Israel is therefore currently ranked as the 26th largest economy.

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Can Israeli citizens work in the US?

If you are interested in working in the United States, you must apply for a work visa. Depending on the business structure and employment requirements, there are a number of work visa options. Israelis are highly entrepreneurial and particularly innovative, as evidenced by the number of start-ups.

Is Israel visa free for US citizens? Travelers usually receive a free three-month tourist visa upon arrival in Israel, which can be extended. Israel does not routinely stamp passports with an entry stamp, instead providing all travelers with an entry card, although they reserve the right to stamp the passport.

Can Israelis immigrate to the US?

Immigrant visas to the US are processed for residents of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza at the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

How long can an Israeli citizen stay in the US?

Israeli citizens are initially eligible for L-1 visas up to 48 months, which can then be extended to a maximum of five years for an L-1B and seven years for an L-1A visa. After this time, the applicant must return to Israel or find an alternative visa to stay in the United States.

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