January 30, 2023
Americans Overwhelmingly Support Newly Announced Welcome Corps Program, Opportunities to Directly Sponsor Refugees
Polls show private refugee sponsorship is widely popular with as many as 50 million eager to participate in resettling newcomers
More than 20,000 Americans signed up for more information on the Welcome Corps in first week
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans strongly support opportunities to directly sponsor refugees, including through the recently announced Welcome Corps program, according to public polling conducted by YouGov America and More in Common.
The Welcome Corps is a public-private partnership recently launched by the State Department and a consortium of six nonprofit organizations, including Welcome.US, that represents a major shift in refugee resettlement in the United States by inviting private citizens to directly sponsor refugees. The U.S. government has traditionally partnered with nine nonprofit resettlement organizations to provide initial resettlement assistance to newly arriving refugees. While some in the resettlement community have suggested that private citizens are not up to the task of welcoming newcomers, many have embraced the capacity and eagerness Americans have demonstrated, and new data shows that Americans are overwhelmingly interested and willing to take on this responsibility.
The YouGov polling, which was fielded on the same day the program was announced, revealed that 60% of American adults favor the new Welcome Corps program — regardless of political party. Over three quarters (76%) of Democrats support the program, as do over half (53%) of Republicans. Americans are not only in favor of private refugee sponsorship, many are ready to serve as sponsors themselves — in the first week since the Welcome Corps launched, over 20,000 Americans have signed up to learn more information about the program. A recent national survey conducted by More in Common in partnership with YouGov found that 26% of Americans — representing more than 50 million adults — are interested in helping sponsor a refugee in the next couple of years.
“It’s clear that when we offer people the opportunity to help welcome newcomers seeking safety and the chance at a new life, Americans are eager to open their arms and lead the way,” said Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash. “What they have to offer is far more than what government systems can do alone, and the benefit to refugees and our nation far greater. The data shows that private refugee sponsorship is not only a popular model, but an effective one because it grows our capacity to welcome, strengthens our community connections, and helps both newcomers and our communities thrive.”
Key Findings from More in Common (poll conducted prior to the Welcome Corps announcement)
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support community sponsorship, and interest is particularly strong among the Asian American community, reflecting the long tail of private refugee resettlement from the late 1970s.
Community sponsorship is popular with Americans of all backgrounds, but especially notable is that it resonates strongly with Republicans, increasing their support for accepting refugees by 19 percentage points, from a 6-point margin of support to a strong 25-point support margin.
Americans are keen to help in all kinds of practical ways, from small to big efforts — including donating clothing and furniture, providing emotional connection and support, helping with learning English and finding a job, and even providing accommodation in their own home.
The Welcome Corps is backed by more than 200 diverse organizations and is being heralded as the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in 40 years. This community service opportunity is modeled after the success of Canada’s long-running Private Sponsorship of Refugees system, as well as the Biden Administration’s humanitarian sponsorship programs that have given more than 200,000 Americans the opportunity to welcome first Afghans, then Ukrainians, and now people in need of safety from our own hemisphere, including Venezuelans, Haitians, Cubans, and Nicaraguans.
With the launch of the Welcome Corps, the federal government is making it possible for private citizens to sponsor refugees from around the world, many of whom have been waiting years for the chance to rebuild their lives in safety. Americans are already seizing the opportunity to participate in the Welcome Corps, with more than 20,000 signing up to get more information in the first week since its launch.
To learn more and join the Welcome Corps, visit welcomecorps.org.
At Welcome.US, our mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of Americans to welcome newcomers and help them thrive. We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. By making it easier for Americans from all walks of life to participate in the work of welcoming—and telling their stories—we are building a movement that celebrates America’s welcoming spirit by providing an opportunity to serve for all who seek to welcome. Our diverse community of Welcomers reaches across real and perceived divides to meet the needs of newcomers more effectively. In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, diaspora organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, four former Presidents and four former First Ladies, Welcome.US is a single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support those who are starting new lives in the United States. To learn more about Welcome.US, please visit welcome.us.
About More in Common
More in Common is a research driven organization that works on initiatives to address the underlying drivers of polarization, and build more united societies. Their research is frequently quoted by major news outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, PBS, and Harvard Business Review.
About YouGov America
YouGov is an international online research data and analytics technology group. It is the second most quoted market research source in the world.s in the United States.