EXPLAINER: What Is the US Doing to Assist Ukraine Refugees?

By BEN FOX, Related Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has set off the most important mass migration in Europe in many years, with greater than 1.5 million individuals having crossed from Ukraine into neighboring international locations – “the quickest rising refugee disaster in Europe since World Warfare II,” the The pinnacle of the UN refugee company tweeted on Sunday. Practically all of the refugees have gone to different international locations in Europe, the place they’ve typically encountered a heat welcome. However some could ultimately want everlasting resettlement in the US if they’re unable to return to Ukraine. .


The US has supplied 54 million in meals and different help to individuals inside Ukraine and has pledged to ship extra, in accordance with Samantha Energy, head of the US Company for Worldwide Improvement. That help is crucial as a result of situations in Ukraine are horrific and rising worse. Meals is scarce as tens of millions of displaced individuals contained in the nation attempt to escape the Russian assault.

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On Thursday, the Biden administration introduced it will supply short-term protected standing to Ukrainians already inside the US. Members of Congress and advocates welcomed the announcement, however the results are modest. The Division of Homeland Safety estimates that about 75,000 persons are eligible for this system and it is solely good for 18 months until prolonged. Furthermore, this system leaves individuals in immigration limbo as a result of beneficiaries can’t essentially convert their standing into everlasting authorized residency or US citizenship.


It’d. White Home spokeswoman Jen Psaki says the US would settle for Ukrainian refugees. However the administration says that, for now a minimum of, many of the refugees apparently need to keep in Europe. That is the place many have households, they will work after which return house if that’s doable sooner or later.

The administration beforehand mentioned it will settle for as much as 125,000 refugees within the 2022 price range 12 months. That annual cap had been minimize to a report low of 15,000 below President Donald Trump. In setting the annual goal for refugees, the Biden administration put aside 10,000 refugee visas for individuals from Europe, but it surely may develop that quantity to soak up extra Ukrainians if wanted. The White Home has mentioned it should work with the United Nations and European international locations to find out whether or not individuals who have fled Europe will want everlasting resettlement within the US or elsewhere.

The 125,000 doesn’t embrace the 76,000 Afghans who got here to the US after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.

One factor the US may do instantly to assist Ukrainians can be to expedite the processing of a number of thousand members of non secular minority teams, together with Jews and evangelical Christians, who’ve households in the US and have already utilized to return below what’s often called the Lautenberg. program.


Sure, though it will not be straightforward, in accordance with refugee resettlement specialists.

The Trump administration cuts to the refugee program pressured resettlement companies to put off workers and shut places of work. They’ve been struggling for months to assist the tens of hundreds of Afghan refugees who got here after their nation fell to the Taliban, and a posh downside was made extra so by excessive housing prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

Regardless of the difficulties, the US may deal with the arrival of extra refugees, says Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, one of many nation’s 9 resettlement companies.

“There’s a lot curiosity in serving to these those that the sources can be there, the volunteers can be there,” Hetfield mentioned. “It might be a problem as a result of we’re all stretched too skinny. However we might positively make it work. “

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