The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday that the Biden administration will require US citizens, businesses and nonprofit groups to sponsor Ukrainian refugees to provide temporary humanitarian protection in the United States.
The new refugee sponsorship programme, which begins on Monday, will become the main path the administration hopes to use to achieve Promise to receive 100,000 Ukrainian refugees who left their country after the Russian invasion.
Since the war broke out, more than five million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring Eastern European countries, creating a massive refugee emergency, according to the United Nations refugee agency. European leaders have called on the United States to take in more refugees, particularly those who have friends or family ties in the United States, but it took time for the Biden administration to create a program that would allow Ukrainians to obtain rapid permission to relocate.
Under the programme, called Union for Ukraine, US citizens and groups will be required to certify their financial ability to sponsor Ukrainian refugees, and Ukrainians must apply to the program already associated with private sponsorship.
If approved, Ukrainians will be allowed to enter the country on temporary humanitarian grounds under a program known as humanitarian parole for up to two years. Unlike the traditional refugee program, this new process will not automatically allow refugees to become permanent residents of the United States. This reflects the belief among Biden administration officials that most Ukrainian refugees want to return home as soon as possible and are not looking for permanent resettlement.
DHS officials have estimated that once the United for Ukraine program goes live, Ukrainians should be able to come to the United States about a week after the application is submitted. In addition to having an approved sponsor, refugees must have several vaccinations, including those for Covid-19, and undergo basic security vetting.
The program will work similarly to a program created for Afghans who were evacuated from Kabul last August. Like the Afghans, Ukrainian refugees will get work permits. Unlike Afghans, they will not be eligible for public benefits unless Congress passes a new law as it did for Afghan refugees.
The administration has not yet determined how Ukrainians who don’t have family or close friends can contact private organizations interested in their sponsorship, but officials said they hope some type of matching program will be available soon.
Once the program is launched, the United States will stop processing Ukrainian refugees who are They flew to Mexico to seek asylum At legal border crossings. Since February, border officials have granted humanitarian parole to at least 5,000 Ukrainians, most of them along a border bridge near San Diego. Thousands more thought To wait across the border in Tijuanawhere the Mexican government has set up a temporary shelter in a sports arena.
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