Saturday, July 9, 2016

White House Looks to Private Sector to Increase Refugee Admissions Outside the Resettlement Program

With the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, the Obama administration is more than ever committed to helping refugees, whether in their host countries in the Middle East or in the United States. U.S. humanitarian assistance to the Syrian crisis reached $5.1 billion this year. President Obama has already pledged to bring into the United States 10,000 Syrian refugees via the refugee resettlement program this fiscal year (which ends September 30).

The administration is also looking for "alternative pathways" to admit more Syrian refugees outside the refugee resettlement program, to meet the target set by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) of providing at least 480,000 places worldwide through resettlement and private sponsorships (such as employment contracts, student scholarships etc.) to Syrian refugees over three years (2016-2018).
President Obama will also be hosting the "Leaders' Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis" in New York this September 20 on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The president will be asking the world's leaders to commit to the following: "increase funding to humanitarian appeals and international organizations, admit more refugees through resettlement or other legal pathways, and increase refugees' self-reliance and inclusion through opportunities for education and legal work."
On the domestic front, The White House announced on June 30 a "Call to Action for the U.S. private sector to stand with the Administration and make new, measurable, and significant commitments that will have a durable impact on refugees residing in countries on the frontlines of the global refugee crisis and in countries of resettlement, like the United States." Fifteen founding companies are joining the president in this effort: Accenture, Airbnb, Chobani, Coursera, Goldman Sachs, Google, HP, IBM, JPMorgan Chase & Co., LinkedIn, Microsoft, Mastercard, UPS, TripAdvisor, and Western Union.

In parallel, the White House launched a new website called Partnership for Refugees "[t]o facilitate private sector commitments in response to the President's Call to Action." Refugees' needs are to be addressed primarily in...

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