U.S. borrows page from Canada for new Welcome Corps refugee resettlement program

WASHINGTON — The United States is introducing a new private refugee sponsorship program that's based on a similar system in Canada.

State Department officials say the Canadian model helped inspire and inform the design and implementation of the U.S. program, known as the Welcome Corps.

The U.S. describes the program, which will allow ordinary Americans to privately sponsor refugees, as the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in four decades.

They also acknowledge that it borrows heavily from Canada, where citizens have been able to privately help resettle refugees since the 1970s.

The new U.S. program hopes to enlist 10,000 private sponsors to help resettle some 5,000 new arrivals by the end of the year.

Officials who spoke at a State Department media briefing provided on the condition of anonymity described the Canadian program as "wildly successful" and cited it as an important model.

"We definitely drew lessons from our Canadian allies, from their program," one official told the briefing last week.

"We are very grateful to our friends and allies in Canada who gave us a lot of advice as we were designing this program, and we're really, really grateful to them for that."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2023.

The Canadian Press