The nation’s top refugee advocacy group is in talks with President Obama to consider launching a program that would allow American citizens to take displaced persons into their home and financially support them. The “Adopt-A-Refugee” program is being considered by the State Department and would require willing participants to pay for housing, food, clothing, airfare, and other costs of a refugee fleeing from a country of their choice.
The director of the Refugee Council USA, Naomi Steinberg, began talks with the U.S. about the Adopt-A-Refugee program in July as a means of fighting to find ways for the U.S. to take in refugees despite government funding being an issue. The program is modeled after one that has already been imposed in Canada.
If such a program were adopted, it would be the largest structural change in U.S. refugee policy in 30 years. Between problems in Syria and Africa, more than 65 million have been displaced from their homes and fleeing to other countries, making it the largest refugee crisis since World War II.
Republican lawmakers have been at odds with the Obama Administration following the announcement that it plans to accept 110,000 fleeing citizens from around the world in 2017. Concerns of cost and national security issues hold Congress back from embracing such a large plan.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has been vocal about his plans to suspend the refugee influx, especially from Syria, until the United States has a better handle on finding terrorist infiltration through the program. Tuesday night during the Vice Presidential debate Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, reinforced their stance on the issue.
Just last month, the State Department Spokesman John Kirby admitted that ISIS members have tried posing as refugees to gain access to the United States.
“I wouldn’t debate the fact that there’s the potential for ISIS terrorists to try to insert themselves,” Kirby said on Fox News. “And we’ve seen that in some of the refugee camps in Jordan and in Turkey, where they try to insert themselves into the population.”