ISSUES

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Cardona Call Upon College & University Leadership to Engage in Refugee Resettlement 


For Immediate Release: 6/20/2024
Contact: Jason Koh at Jason@presidentsalliance.org

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Cardona Call Upon College & University Leadership to Engage in Refugee Resettlement 

Washington, D.C. – The Presidents’ Alliance, an alliance of over 550 college and university leaders across the country, applauds Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona for their letter this week to college and university leaders commending their efforts to support displaced students and refugee resettlement and urging them to increase their engagement in this vital endeavor. 

At a time of historic displacement, welcoming and enrolling refugee students and supporting the resettlement of refugees is an opportunity for the United States to stand by its values and expand the United States humanitarian reach by enabling U.S. colleges and universities to play a key role in refugee students’ higher education access and success.

“This World Refugee Day, we celebrate the creation of a new pathway for young refugees that not only provides an opportunity for education and resettlement, but also provides hope!,”said Laura Wagner, Director of Refugee Student Initiatives at the Presidents’ Alliance, “With Welcome Corps on Campus, colleges and universities and their campus communities can sponsor refugee students living abroad to come to the U.S. as refugees through the U.S. refugee admissions program and enroll as first year undergraduates. And this is just one of several opportunities for higher education to engage in refugee resettlement.”

Colleges and universities have a rich legacy of welcoming refugees, embracing the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds that newcomers bring to America. Now, through programs supported by the Department of State, there is an infrastructure to support U.S. higher education institutions to engage in this transformative work. 

The Welcome Corps on Campus builds on that tradition and increases the United States’ resettlement capacity while leveraging campus ecosystems as welcoming communities. Through this partnership between Welcome Corps and participating campuses, refugee students have access not only to education, but also essential resettlement services including housing, healthcare, and social services. Supporting Higher Education in Refugee Resettlement (SHERR), through the Refugee Resource Hub, innovation grants, and communities of practice and action, provides resources for colleges and universities to connect and engage in refugee resettlement.

The letter this week recognizes the potential and applauds the efforts of colleges and universities to meet the growing need to welcome and integrate refugees into our communities and campuses. Higher education stands ready to meet this moment to address the urgent challenges facing fleeing and displaced students and families.

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The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to support undocumented, international and refugee students, and advance forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal level, in our states, and across our college campuses. The Alliance is composed of 550+ college and university presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.