The Biden administration said Monday that thousands of Ukrainians who fled to the United States in the first months after Russia invaded their country would be eligible to extend their stay, as the war in Ukraine dragged on for a second year.
About 25,000 Ukrainians and their family members who came to the country via Mexico at a US port of entry between February 24 and April 25 last year were allowed to stay for a year. The Department of Homeland Security said it would consider extending that group by a year.
The two-year total is consistent with the length of time that Ukrainians fleeing the war were later allowed to remain in the United States under a program in a system known as humanitarian parole.
“With the continuing unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented humanitarian crisis it has caused, DHS assesses that there remain urgent humanitarian reasons, in addition to significant public benefit, to extend the conditional release of certain Ukrainians and family members in case-of-state,” said Angelo Fernandez, spokesperson. On behalf of Homeland Security, in a statement on Monday.
Nearly 300,000 Ukrainians and their families have entered the country since the start of the war on humanitarian parole, on a visa, or as refugees. More than eight million They fled to European countries last year.
The Biden administration had indicated it would find a way to allow the first Ukrainian arrivals to extend their stay and work in the United States, but did not announce a solution until Monday. Thousands of Ukrainians were left wondering if they would have to uproot themselves to find refuge in another country while war raged in their country.
“This operation will provide critical relief to thousands of Ukrainians who are facing severe anxiety and uncertainty about their future here,” said Krish Omara Vignarajah, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service President.
Human rights advocates said that people from other countries who are in the United States on temporary humanitarian parole should have similar safeguards. Ms. Vijnarajah said the protection will end this summer for the thousands of Afghans who were among the first to arrive in the United States after the rapid evacuation to Afghanistan in August 2021.
“The administration’s broader use of parole must be accompanied by a thoughtful plan for how and when temporary protection will be extended, and how beneficiaries can access pathways to long-term placement,” she said.
A legislative proposal to give Afghans on parole an opportunity to apply for permanent residence in the United States failed to garner sufficient Republican support.
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