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US Refugee Crisis Needs to Engage Individuals and Private Sector

US Refugee Crisis Needs to Engage Individuals and Private Sector

Magazine , Immigration

By now, you must have seen the picture of a 2-year-old girl and a 3-month-old boy found by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials abandoned along the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas. The picture was called a “heartbreaking” discovery and drew a widespread debate on the internet. 

Robert N. Garcia, Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent tweeted about the picture, “It is heartbreaking and frustrating to know that there are children being abandoned without remorse or concern for their lives and wellbeing.” The abandoned children were taken to the Border Patrol’s processing facility in Uvalde, Texas. 

The severity of the refugee crisis is evident from this picture. Along the southern border of Texas, thousands of illegal migrants wait along to be processed into the US, while many of them are risking their lives crossing through the Darien Gap to eventually seek asylum in the US. 

According to media reports, about 10,000 migrants, many of them Haitians, are living under a bridge near the Texas border, after fleeing a coup and earthquake-hit country. The authorities fear thousands more will join these migrants in the coming days. 

In addition to these migrants, who will somehow make it to the US, there are also Afghan refugees being officially welcomed to the country. This huge number of refugees needs a multidimensional approach to be addressed and managed properly. 

One such initiative is taken by former Obama and Bush administration officials who have launched a new organization to help streamline the process of resettling the Afghans refugees. The Welcome.US organization aims to bring together the government, refugee groups, and private companies to help in the resettlement of Afghan refugees.

“America has long been a beacon of hope and refuge for those in search of safety,” Co-Chairs of this organization said, adding, “This effort to welcome Afghans who have already contributed so much will enrich us all by their very presence and show the world America at our very best.”

Similarly, the Biden administration has also announced this week a sponsorship initiative to encourage the private sector in supporting the recently arrived refugees. Initially, newly arrived Afghan refugees will be facilitated through this initiative. However, the long-term goal of the initiative is to assist other refugee groups in the future as the Biden administration looks forward to ramping up refugee admissions after years of drastic cuts imposed by the former president.

Under this program, more than 250 nonprofit organizations have already banded together to help Afghan refugees settle in the US. 

Such public-private partnerships can help reinvigorate America’s historic role as a destination for refugees, however, more can be done, as suggested by David Bier, an immigration policy analyst who appreciated the Biden administration’s attempt to acknowledge the private sector’s willingness to facilitate refugees. He called for allowing private citizens and businesses to sponsor refugees outside the existing publicly funded refugee caps.

“Americans’ ability to accept refugees should not be dependent on the U.S. government’s willingness to fund it and raise caps as it is now,” he said.

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