On January 19, the Biden Administration announced an additional program for the resettlement of certain foreigners, i.e., “refugees,” in the U.S. that directly will involve U.S. citizens, acting through the State Department’s U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). This new program seeks to resettle refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean with the assistance of Americans “ranging from members of faith and civic groups, veterans, diaspora communities, businesses, colleges and universities, and more.” 
This new program already has its own website—Welcome Corps–which says that more than 200 diverse organizations are signaling their support and that Americans will “work in groups of at least five to welcome newcomers by securing and preparing initial housing, greeting refugee newcomers at the airport, enrolling children in school, and helping adults to find employment.” Most importantly, the individuals in these citizen groups will “offer a sense of welcome, belonging, and inclusion for families.”
The “Welcome Corps” website also describes its training program for “providing core private sponsoring services (e.g., housing, benefits and services access, cultural adjustment, etc.) and an overview of how to help facilitate the long-term integration of refugees, . . . the logistics of forming a Private Sponsor Group, fundraising, developing a Welcome Plan, and resiliency-building.” This training must be completed by at least one member of the Private Sponsor Group.”
Who Will Be Welcomed by the Welcome Corps? 
The initial Corps materials repeatedly use the word “refugee” to identify the foreigners it will be seeking to help relocate in the U.S. Those same materials also refer to Latin Americans, Caribbeans, Afghans and Ukrainians as people they want to welcome to the U.S. Those are certainly laudatory goals.
But not all of those groups have been determined to meet the legal requirements for “refugee” status under international and U.S. law as shown by the following:
- International Law. On April 22, 1954, the international Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees went into force and became a binding treaty after its ratification or accession by the sixth state. Then after its amendment by the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees that went into effect on October 4, 1967, the international definition of “refugee” was the following: Any person who “owing to well- founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who,not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
(Excluded from that international definition of “refugee” was “any person . . . [who] (a) . has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity . . . ; (b) . . . has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to his admission to that country as a refugee; [and] (c) . . . has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the [U.N.].”)
- U.S. Law. The U.S. did not ratify the previously mentioned Protocol (and by incorporation the previously mentioned Convention) until November 1, 1968, and 12 years later the U.S. finally adopted the implementing federal legislation (the Refugee Act of 1980), which defines “refugee” as follows: “any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” That federal statute also provided, “The term ‘refugee’ does not include any person who ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”
It must also be noted that this last Session of Congress failed to enact the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would have provided some temporary legal protection for Afghan evacuees who have not been determined to be “refugees.”
It is utterly dumbfounding that the Departments of State and Homeland Security could erroneously use the important legal concept of “refugee” in this matter of foreign policy.
111 State Dep’t, Launch of the Welcome Corps—Private Sponsorship of Refugees (Jan. 19,2023); State Dep’t, U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, (Jan. 19, 2023); Welcome Corps Website, State Dep’t, U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, (Jan. 19,2023); 200+ Organizations Signal Support for the Welcome Corps, New Service, Opportunities for Private Refugee Sponsorship; The Welcome Corps Essentials Training, Jordan, Biden Administration Invites Ordinary Americans to Help Settle Refugees, N.Y. Times (Jan. 19, 2023); Santana, (AP), Welcome Corps provides a new way for Americans to sponsor refugees, Ch. Sci. Monitor (Jan. 19, 2023).
 Refugee and Asylum Law: The Modern Era, dwkcommentaries.com (July 9, 2011); Refugee and Asylum Law: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, dwkcommentaries.com (July 10, 2011); Weissbrodt, Ni Aolain, Fitzpatrick & Newman, International Human Rights: Law, Policy, and Process at 1040-42 (4th ed. 2009).
 Need To Prod Congress to Enact the Afghan Adjustment Act, dwkcommentaries.com (Dec. 17, 2022); Apparent Failure To Enact Bipartisan Immigration Bills, dwkcommentaries.com (Dec. 18, 2022); Congress Fails to Adopt Important Immigration Bills, dwkcommentaries.com (Dec. 28, 2022).