The International Institute of New England (IINE) commends the U.S. Department of State’s commitment to quickly welcome and resettle evacuees from Afghanistan into U.S. communities. We are excited about the possibilities of new resettlement models that engage community groups across the country in receiving and supporting refugees. IINE has provided services to immigrants for over 100 years, and always with and through the support of local communities. The Community Sponsorship Hub model takes that support to a new level.
IINE stands ready to meet with any group in the community that forms a Sponsor Circle and to provide support within our capacity. We don’t have many details about how the program will work, but we look forward to learning more as groups form.
IINE and other resettlement agencies offer services that go far beyond the initial 90-day period, and that include orientation, case management, ESOL, education, job training and support, and legal services. Our professional, deeply experienced, and multi-lingual staff work intensely with most individuals and families for at least a year after arrival, and sometimes up to five years. To the extent that Afghan arrivals and other refugees will need all these extended services, we are prepared to partner with Sponsor Circles to ensure that initial resettlement support leads to longer-term service connections and coordination.
IINE is evolving our own refugee resettlement community support model, and we welcome the opportunity to pilot new models that better serve and support refugees in their initial resettlement and integration into U.S. communities. We look forward to working with federal, state, local, and volunteer stakeholders to integrate new sponsoring and receiving communities into the process of U.S. refugee resettlement.