The global community is stepping up to support tens of millions of Ukrainians who have been displaced by Russia’s invasion since February. In addition to the regional response, Americans have urged U.S. policymakers to do more to welcome refugees fleeing Ukraine. In response to this unprecedented crisis, the Biden administration has promised to admit up to 100,000 people from Ukraine. Many will be welcomed through a new program called Uniting for Ukraine. This new program is one of many policy changes that advocates, like you, have called for.
With pressure, the Biden administration has now taken the following steps in response to the crisis in Ukraine:
- Designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and opened the program, providing protection to nearly 60,000 Ukrainians already in the United States.
- Granted Special Student Relief to allow eligible students from Ukraine to remain in the U.S.
- Began dispersing $1 billion in humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people within Ukraine’s conflict zone.
- Opened a designated parole program that will help certain Ukrainians with U.S. sponsors come to the U.S. for up to two years.
- Pledged to open pathways for refugees by expanding the US Refugee Assistance Program (USRAP) beyond the limited Lautenberg program.
We are encouraged to see the innovation that went into developing the new, streamlined parole program, which will allow certain Ukrainians with a sponsor to enter the U.S. for a temporary period. This program will help some, who have a sponsor and access to resources, in the short term. However, many will need more robust support and the lasting protections that USRAP is intended to provide, like housing assistance, healthcare, employment assistance, help enrolling in school, and access to lawful permanent resident status.
While LIRS commends these steps forward to protect refugees of the Ukrainian crisis, we urge you to join us in calling on the administration to prioritize applying new and innovative models to quickly rebuild the refugee program intended to serve refugees that Ukrainians and all in need of protection may benefit. The U.S. must lead by example in using refugee resettlement to the fullest extent possible.
After sending a message to the administration, join us in calling on Members of Congress to provide additional financial assistance to the U.S. Refugee Program to build capacity and quickly process and welcome Ukrainian refugees. We also urge Congress to support Ukrainians that will arrive in the U.S. through humanitarian parole by mobilizing and passing an emergency supplemental, as was done for Afghans through the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program.