In the brief, USCRI asserts that a refugee who has received a formal assurance of sponsorship from a resettlement agency has a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” for the purposes of the Supreme Court’s July 26th opinion on the travel ban. USCRI thanks the law firm of Reed Smith LLP for their expert pro bono legal assistance.
USCRI, a nonprofit organization with a 106-year history of serving refugees and immigrants in the United States, is one of the nine U.S. refugee resettlement organizations designated by the U.S. State Department. USCRI currently has approximately 3,400 active assurances for refugees. The assured refugees completed in-person interviews by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the government conducted an extensive vetting process on each person.
The formal assurance of sponsorship protocol, which has been in place for 40 years, is a formal written guarantee from the refugee resettlement agency submitted to the State Department that basic services will be provided to the refugee and any accompanying family members in the initial resettlement phase. An assurance of sponsorship agreement is tied specifically to a refugee case and is not transferable.
The refugees impacted “are some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” USCRI argued in the brief. “Shutting them out poses a greater risk to the public good by sullying the United States’ reputation as the humanitarian leader in the world,” USCRI stated.
Before USCRI assures a refugee, the agency carefully reviews the refugee’s file and determines where in the U.S. the refugee will be resettled based on the availability of housing, employment, needed services, nature and size of the family unit, and a variety of other factors. If a refugee has family members or friends living in the U.S, every effort is made to resettle the refugee near them and USCRI works with them to coordinate the provision of services long before the refugee arrives. The USCRI field offices and partner agencies also meet quarterly with their extended networks of social service organizations, state and local officials including health officials, public safety officials, and representatives of the school system to ensure that the community is well-situated to continue accepting refugees.
Throughout its history USCRI has fostered relationships with its network of local agencies by delivering on its commitment to resettle in those communities. The travel ban has long-term negative consequences for U.S. refugee resettlement, the agency argued. If the Ninth Circuit reverses the part of the injunction as it applies to refugees with written assurances, “the resettlement infrastructure will loosen and scatter, talents and institutional knowledge will be wasted, and investments will be squandered.”
To read the full text of the amicus brief click here.