News & Resources

Becca Heller Pushes for Private Sponsorship at Concordia Summit

While President Obama convened state leaders at the Leaders’ Summit for Refugees, the Concordia Summit’s Private Sector Forum on Migrants and Refugees gathered representatives from NGOs, private companies, and governments to discuss innovative approaches to refugee protection.

IRAP’s director and co-founder, Becca Heller, was invited to speak on the panel “The Private Sector’s Role in Refugee Resettlement,” together with John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, and Melanie Nezer, Chair of Refugee Council USA. The panel was moderated by Kathleen Newland, Senior Fellow and Co-Founder of the Migration Policy Institute.

During the session, Anne Richard announced that the United States is interested in launching a pilot program and amplifying the roles of NGOs and private citizens in refugee resettlement.

In response to Anne Richard’s statement, Becca Heller introduced a concrete and comprehensive proposal for implementing such a pilot program, designed by IRAP, Human Rights First, and the Migration Policy Institute in cooperation with RCUSA, which will be published later this year. Heller stressed the importance of the concept of additionality to ensure that government resources for refugee resettlement will not be funneled away from the current program. Melanie Nezer concurred and added that there are many ways in which the private sector can get involved in refugee resettlement, as new models for engagement are developed.

In addition, John McCallum announced a new initiative between the Canadian government, UNHCR, and the Open Society Foundations to assist other countries in modifying or adopting Canada’s private sponsorship program.

Read more about our proposal for a private sponsorship program in the United States in this two-page summary.