Financial giant American Express is teaming up with a non-governmental organization (NGO) formed by three former U.S. presidents to fly asylum seekers into the U.S. from other nations.
Welcome.US was formed in 2021 by former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama and sought to help the Biden administration resettle roughly 100,000 Afghan migrants after the administration’s pullout of Afghanistan, which left the Taliban in control of the country, as well as billions of dollars of U.S. military equipment.
The organization, which has numerous high-profile and corporate partners and proudly calls itself the largest coalition in refugee resettlement history, has facilitated the migration of Ukrainians, Cubans, Haitians, and Latin Americans to the U.S.
Honorary Co-Chairs of Welcome.US include Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, and Rosalynn Carter.
The Welcome Connect Travel program seeks to fund travel expenses associated with relocation with donations of cash or frequent flyer miles. The program identifies individuals who have already been approved for legal travel to the U.S., but don’t have the money for airfare.
Welcome.US is facilitating the resettlement of thousands of Ukrainians, following President Joe Biden’s goal to bring in 100,000 people from Ukraine.
“One year ago, the Biden Administration launched Uniting for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion sparked the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II and millions of Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes,” the organization said in a statement posted on April 21. “Harnessing the long tradition of communities welcoming those seeking refuge, this program opened the door for everyday Americans to directly support people in need of safety in the United States for the first time in decades.”
“Welcome Connect Travel is a joint partnership between Welcome.US, American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), and Miles4Migrants,” according to the website.
“Welcome Connect Travel removes the cost of travel as a barrier for both sponsors in the United States and the displaced families they are supporting through humanitarian sponsorship,” the organization states. “Donations are needed to fund the flights for newcomers to travel to the United States. With the average cost of a single flight at $1,600, public donations through our partner Miles4Migrants will help provide a lifeline to newcomers, giving them the opportunity to safely travel to their new communities.”
Miles4Migrants uses donated frequent flyer miles, credit card points, and cash to fund travel of refugees and migrants from their home countries to the U.S. So far, the organization has had more than 731 million miles redeemed, to provide flights for more than 41,232 people, which would have cost more than $12 million.