“Welcome Corps” was launched in January by the U.S. State Department with a new twist: private sponsorship of refugees. The pilot program has a goal of 10,000 Americans providing assistance to 5,000 refugees during the first year.
The first arrivals, from sub-Saharan Africa, are expected to be welcomed in April of this year.
Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, is familiar with U.S. immigration law including the current U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. That program screens applicants from war-torn countries, such as Afghanistan, who are seeking safety in the U.S. as permanent residents.
According to Mehlman, this new program creates a problem.
“The refugee process,” he explains, “is supposed to take the people who are in greatest danger with the least likelihood of ever being able to return home safely.”
Through the new “Welcome” program, Mehlman says, the federal government is ditching an objective assessment and is now allowing the public to pick who can enter the country.
“We've already done this on the immigration process where we have family chain migration,” the immigration expert points out. “We take people based on who they're related to, not based on objective assessment of their likelihood to contribute here."