The government’s response to the current refugee crisis in the Middle East has been slow and inadequate. To stimulate a more robust response to this humanitarian crisis, the federal government should create a privately funded refugee resettlement program.
Linking refugee admissions to donations would create a strong incentive for private parties to donate money to refugee resettlement, as well as offering a powerful quantified signal of the American people’s willingness to help refugees. The program would establish an account into which private individuals and organizations can donate money to fund resettlement. Greater donations would fund greater admissions.
This privately funded resettlement program should be combined with an expanded private sponsorship of refugees. Current law under the Priority-3 refugee program allows refugees already in the United States to jumpstart resettlement for their immediate relatives abroad without having to wait for a referral from the United Nations. This program should be expanded to allow non-refugee United States residents who have displaced family, including extended family, to apply to the refugee program.
Together, these two reforms have the potential to allow the private sector to lead a powerful response to the international refugee crisis. The reforms would help thousands of refugees and do so in a way that taps the energy and resources of American philanthropy without requiring significant new government spending.
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