The US is extending humanitarian status to Ukrainians who fled the war | News of war between Russia and Ukraine
The decision allows Ukrainians living in the US to continue accessing services and eases concerns about legal limbo.
The administration of United States President Joe Biden will extend the one-year permit granted to thousands of Ukrainians living in the country, allowing them to renew their humanitarian status and stay longer, just as their papers are about to expire.
The news comes shortly after the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which forced millions of refugees to flee.
The Department of Homeland Security said on Monday that approximately 25,000 Ukrainians who entered the US through the southern border with Mexico can extend their stay beyond the year they were initially granted.
“For this group of the earliest Ukrainians to arrive, the continued legal right to live, work and access resettlement assistance in the US is absolutely critical to their well-being,” said a leader Krish O’Mara Vignarajah Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service in statement.statement.
More than 118,000 Ukrainians have come to the US through a program called humanitarian parole, which allows people fleeing desperate situations to enter the US, where they can to appeal to more permanent immigration routes out of harm’s way.
These authorizations last for two years, but about 25,000 people who entered the US through Mexico in 2022 only received a one-year permit.
The extension will allow them to continue to access services such as health care and food aid, and will ease concerns about their legal status in the country.
In recent years, humanitarian parole has been introduced to bring groups of people from countries such as Ukraine and Afghanistan to the US.
However, many Afghans who were admitted to the US after the fall of the US-backed government in Afghanistan in August 2021 have still seen their visas extended. Some worry that they could end up in a state of legal limbo and lose their work permits if a solution isn’t found before they spend their two-year anniversary in the US.
Advocacy groups have pushed Congress to pass a bill called the Afghanistan Amendment Act that would provide a path to permanent status for Afghan parliamentarians, but the bill was not passed.
“Thousands of Afghans who were evacuated to the United States last summer had to endure the harrowing journey of fleeing their homeland,” the advocacy group said. in the US, Afghans For A Better Tomorrow, in a press release (PDF) last August. “They should not be forced to relive that trauma through burdensome legal processes.”
Some have accused the US government of a racist double standard in how they manage the humanitarian parole system.
Human rights groups have criticized the Biden administration for processing Afghan humanitarian parole applications at a slow pace and largely denying those it has processed.
As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues, a United Nations poll found that about 65 percent of Ukrainian refugees who fled the planned invasion would stay in their host countries until the hostilities subside.
Doing so often means hardship, with many struggling to adjust to life in new countries after the emotional toll of journeys to safety.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, nearly 8 million Ukrainian refugees have left the country, according to the UN refugee agency. Millions more were displaced within Ukraine itself.