Sponsor Circle Program Expands for Americans Welcoming Venezuelans
The Sponsor Circle Program (SCP) today begins accepting applications from sponsors of Venezuelans who are fleeing economic and humanitarian crises and seeking refuge in the United States through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Process for Venezuelans.
NEW YORK — The Sponsor Circle Program (SCP) today begins accepting applications from sponsors of Venezuelans who are fleeing economic and humanitarian crises and seeking refuge in the United States through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Process for Venezuelans. Sponsors who may need additional resources and support can learn more and apply at sponsorcircles.org. SCP is an initiative that equips everyday community members with the tools and resources they need to welcome refugees and other forcibly displaced people. Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH) is leading the expansion of SCP, a first-of-its-kind program established in October 2021 in partnership with the U.S. Department of State to support Afghan resettlement.
“Time and again, we have seen the spirit of welcome embedded in communities across the country. The Sponsor Circle Program provides critical resources and guidance to those seeking to support Venezuelans in their pursuit of safety,” said Sarah Krause, co-founder and executive director of Community Sponsorship Hub. “Through the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghans and Uniting for Ukraine, we have witnessed firsthand how establishing support systems at the onset benefits both sponsors and newcomers and their communities.”
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security announced an initiative to allow up to 24,000 Venezuelans temporary residence in the United States through humanitarian parole. On Oct. 18, the USCIS released information on the Process for Venezuelans, which includes criteria for a U.S.-based “supporter” to “initiate an application on behalf of a named Venezuelan national, or on behalf of a Venezuelan national and their non-Venezuelan immediate family members.” Supporters must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support beneficiaries during their stay and commit to ensuring appropriate housing and health care and assisting with other activities, such as completing paperwork, transportation and finding employment.
Motivated by the belief that sponsorship is most successful when the responsibility is shared, SCP mobilizes interested supporters to form Sponsor Circles—groups of five or more adults—and provides them access to resources and mentorship throughout the sponsorship period. To qualify, Sponsor Circle members complete a brief training, undergo background checks and create a welcome plan that details how they will support the arriving newcomer.
“The act of welcoming is a significant and rewarding commitment, enriched by increased community engagement,” said Krause. “Expansion of the Sponsor Circle Program enables communities to respond to humanitarian crises and provide welcome for newcomers as they rebuild their lives in the United States.”
CSH is the first organization in the United States solely dedicated to growing community sponsorship. The SCP model has been recognized by the Biden administration for its successful public-private partnership with the State Department in welcoming Afghans to the United States following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Earlier this year, SCP expanded to support communities welcoming Ukrainians through Uniting for Ukraine, a similar humanitarian parolee program. Since the program’s launch, more than 4,500 people have contributed to Sponsor Circles welcoming newcomers. Lessons learned will inform a government-led private sponsorship pilot set to launch in the coming months.
To learn more about the U.S. government Process for Venezuelans, visit https://www.uscis.gov/venezuela.
To learn more about forming a Sponsor Circle, visit http://sponsorcircles.org.
About Community Sponsorship Hub
The Community Sponsorship Hub is dedicated to growing the role of communities in the protection, resettlement, and integration of refugees and other forcibly displaced people. Mobilizing civil society, and the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, and empowering them with resources and access, we shape and coordinate a community sponsorship system that leverages the power of welcoming Americans.
About the Sponsor Circle Program
The Sponsor Circle Program was developed by the Community Sponsorship Hub in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and is implemented by a growing coalition of partners dedicated to expanding U.S. capacity to welcome by mobilizing community members interested and willing to support newcomers.