This morning’s Wall Street Journal features my op-ed, “An Alternative Way to Resettle the Refugees,” available online here.
In this piece, I examine the possibility of expanding refugee sponsorship using a minimum of government assistance. A common argument against refugee resettlement is that it costs too much. But America’s tradition of philanthropy, and the history of private refugee sponsorship programs, shows how private-sector support can expand resettlement efforts without burdening taxpayers.
These programs are badly needed to deal adequately with the humanitarian disaster currently unfolding. It’s a horrible crisis. There are 60 million refugees worldwide, half of whom are under the age of 18. The U.S. has a moral obligation to act. The Obama administration’s announcement yesterday that the United States would admit 10,000 new Syrian refugees is a welcome sign of progress. The State Department ought to empower the private sector to do even more in 2016.
Two U.S. programs in the 80s and 90s resettled a total of 16,000 refugees with almost no government funding. Two Canadian programs, which are still in place, have been even more successful. Replicating these programs would be easy and cheap, and could produce robust support structures for refugees.
Private refugee sponsorship programs can attract bipartisan support. Liberals should be happy to embrace a proven, practical way to help to accommodate a larger number of refugees. Conservatives should welcome a chance to demonstrate that, when allowed to do so, civil society can provide effective humanitarian assistance on a large scale without taxpayer funds. Private sponsorship can accomplish the goals of refugee advocates without alienating fiscal hawks.
By relying on generous individuals, philanthropic corporations, and compassionate non-profit groups, the U.S. can sponsor tens of thousands more refugees without straining government budgets. Private refugee sponsorship is an effective and fiscally responsible way to reduce the suffering of refugees worldwide.
Read the full piece here.
[Photo credit: Oxfam International via Creative Commons License. No changes were made.]