History is made: The first Afghan Families leave U.S. military bases to travel to their Sponsor Circles

Afghan personnel moves their bags onto the bus that will transport them to the La Crosse Regional Airport in La Crosse
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Froylan Grimaldo. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

The first Afghan families participating in the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghans departed from a military safe haven on U.S. soil Tuesday morning (December 7) and traveled to Washington State and Vermont, the first states where sponsor circles have formed to welcome them. 

As we shared back in October, the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghans allows Americans to form resettlement groups, known as sponsor circles, and play a primary anchor role in supporting an Afghan family to integrate into life in the U.S.

This program represents what is perhaps the most significant innovation in U.S. refugee resettlement since the 1980 Refugee Act, allowing more active engagement of private citizens and community groups.

RefugePoint is playing a unique role in this effort: The organization’s staff are working on military bases to identify Afghans for this program, provide information, answer questions, and connect them with sponsor circles. 

Other organizations playing key roles in the Sponsor Circle Program include the Community Sponsorship Hub, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, International Rescue Committee, Airbnb.org, HIAS, and Welcome.US.

We are thrilled to celebrate this historic first. Groups or individuals who are interested in potentially sponsoring a case through the Sponsor Circle Program may find more information on how to apply here.