Most Americans support 'Welcome Corps,' Biden's new refugee sponsorship program

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
January 20, 2023, 2:06 PM GMT+0

Yesterday, the Biden Administration unveiled a new federal program — referred to as "Welcome Corps" — which allows small groups of private citizens to sponsor refugees by taking on logistical and financial responsibility for helping them transition to life in the United States.

The initiative – which is modeled after other successful programs in more than a dozen countries — is widely popular among the American public, according to YouGov's latest poll fielded the day of its announcement. The results show 60% of U.S. adults say they strongly or somewhat support Welcome Corps and just 19% are opposed to it.

Democrats support Welcome Corps by a wide margin (76% support; 9% oppose), and while Republicans are less enthusiastic, nearly twice as many are in favor of the program (53%) as opposed to it (28%). Younger Americans are more likely to support the initiative than older ones.

Eight in 10 Americans who say they personally know someone who is a refugee to the U.S. (82%) are in favor — a group that encompasses 26% of U.S. adults, according to the same poll.

But how many Americans are personally willing to sign up as refugee sponsors through Welcome Corps? At least 35% express at least some interest in becoming a sponsor: 12% say they're very interested and 23% are somewhat interested. Around half say they're not at all (30%) or not very interested (16%).

Democrats are more likely to express at least some interest (48%) than Republicans (31%) or Independents (27%) and younger Americans are more open to the idea of participating than older ones. Religious service attendance is also tied to level of interest in becoming a refugee sponsor: people who say they attend religious services more than once a week are twice as likely to express interest relative to those who never attend.

Which countries do Americans think the U.S. should accept refugees from? YouGov polling conducted in March of 2022 found that more Americans are in favor of accepting refugees fleeing violence from Ukraine (61% support) than three other countries, including Afghanistan (46%), Syria (46%), and El Salvador (40%). While Democrats don't strongly differentiate between refugees from these places, Republicans do: Nearly twice as many support accepting Ukrainian refugees (48%) as support accepting refugees from Syria (23%) or El Salvador (19%).

— Matthew Smith and Linley Sanders contributed to this article

See the results from this poll:

Methodology: This Daily Questions survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 5,474 U.S. adults interviewed online on January 19 - 20, 2023. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.

Image: Adobe Stock (pressmaster)

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