The Importance of Community Consultations in the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Network
AnnaMarie Bena, Senior Vice President, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
Lillie Hinkle, Associate Policy Analyst, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Bojana Zorić Martinez, Director, Bureau of Refugee Programs, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families; Wisconsin State Refugee Coordinator
Margie McHugh, Director, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, MPI
The U.S. government in 2021 recommitted to the U.S. refugee resettlement program following several years of dismantling and record-low admissions. This reconstruction is taking place even as the resettlement program has been tasked with scaling up to meet the needs of refugees admitted in the wake of emergency resettlement initiatives, Operation Allies Welcome and Uniting for Ukraine, which have brought in more than 200,000 Afghan and Ukrainian refugees since 2021. This rebuilding is also occurring against the backdrop of unprecedented numbers of humanitarian migrants entering the United States through immigration parole pathways or the asylum system. Collectively, these developments have consequences for local capacities, affecting public health systems, schools, and other human services. As a result, coordination and communication among key stakeholders in the resettlement network has never been more critical.
During this MPI webinar, speakers discussed the importance of community consultation in a rapidly evolving landscape, and explored how consultation supports capacity building and where it can, at times, fall short. Marking the release of a MPI report, The Unmet Potential of Community Consultations in U.S. Refugee Resettlement, this webcast explored key recommendations and actionable steps toward a more inclusive, collaborative, and adaptable consultation process.