New Milestone in America’s tradition of welcome: Welcome Corps sponsors welcome refugees in Minnesota

Following is a statement from Annie Nolte-Henning, interim executive director of the Community Sponsorship Hub.

Tuesday marked a new milestone in America’s tradition of welcome: private sponsors welcomed the first refugees to arrive through the Welcome Corps, a new federal program allowing everyday Americans to directly welcome refugee newcomers.

This moment is both historic and familiar. In metro areas and small towns alike, the Welcome Corps creates opportunities for people to come together and help refugees begin their lives in America—including places like Worthington, a southwestern Minnesota community outside the radius of traditional resettlement services. In Worthington, 15 neighbors and strangers stepped up to join the Welcome Corps and welcome a three-generation Congolese family—who now have the promise of opportunity in the Midwest. Together the group will introduce the family to life in Worthington and help them access benefits and services, find employment, prepare for Minnesota winters and navigate their new community.

The Welcome Corps is an investment in all communities and a commitment from the Biden administration to repair a disinvested and underfunded resettlement system.

What we see today in Minnesota is a reflection of a nation of welcomers. Communities have long been the heart of welcome, where newcomers can live in safety, care for their loved ones and reclaim a future for themselves and their families with the support of their new neighbors. Now, the Welcome Corps is making that possible for more Americans in more communities nationwide.

The Welcome Corps is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by a consortium led by the Community Sponsorship Hub with funding provided by the U.S. government.