The United States will accept up to 100,000 refugees who have fled the fighting in Ukraine due to the humanitarian crisis Russia’s attack on its neighbor That’s getting worse, Biden administration officials said Thursday.
This announcement was made while President Biden was in Brussels for Series of meetings with NATO leaders and allies On how to respond to Russian aggression.
Other than the top line number, management offered few specifics. In a phone call with reporters Thursday morning, a senior administration official said officials have not decided how to organize refugee programs for Ukrainians. The official said officials are reviewing multiple pathways to get people to the United States quickly.
The administration has also not provided a timetable for resettlement, although two people familiar with their discussions say the government is preparing for arrivals through 2023.
A senior official said the administration is “working in particular to expand and develop new programs with an emphasis on welcoming Ukrainians who have family members to the United States.” The official added that the United States is “committed to protecting the most vulnerable among the refugees who have already fled,” such as LGBT individuals, those with medical needs, and dissidents.
Irina Mazur, an immigration attorney in Philadelphia and the honorary consul representing Ukraine in the city, said she is grateful to the White House but hopes to release details soon because she knows many Ukrainians who are in dire need of help. She also said that eventually accepting 100,000 Ukrainian refugees would not be enough, although she added that many people would be happy to return to Ukraine if the situation in their country improved.
“I really hope this is only the first number, because at this point there are more than three million Ukrainians scattered all over Europe,” she said.
An unspecified number of 100,000 can officially come to the United States through the Refugee Admissions Program, which means they will receive green cards and resettlement assistance. The United States has a special refugee pathway known as the Lautenberg Program to assist Ukrainian religious minorities and other countries that make up the former Soviet Union that will likely see a boost under the administration’s plans.
Others are likely to come on urgent visas, such as those designed for Americans to care for family members abroad, or via a temporary immigration program known as humanitarian parole, the official said.
Similarly, the United States brought more than 76,000 evacuees into the country using humanitarian parole after Kabul fell to the Taliban. While the program offers a faster alternative to most other immigration programs, which include more paperwork and vetting, it also tends to favor those in the United States who do not have permanent legal status. This can work for Ukrainians who need temporary shelter but wish to return home if the situation becomes safe.
Hundreds or more of Ukrainians with relatives or other ties to the United States have also traveled to Mexico in recent weeks to seek protection at border crossings into the U.S. border. Russian or Belarusian immigrants who request similar protection at the southern border of the United States are denied it.
The announcement came along with an additional $1 billion in aid to European countries and NGOs that care for Ukrainian refugees in Europe who have been displaced by the conflict, according to the White House.
The European Union has Before about 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees Since the start of the war, with the block allowing people fleeing war to come without a visa and have the right to work for two years.
The conglomerate also provided essential services to incoming people, providing them with food, shelter and education. Ireland, which is outside the union’s visa-free travel zone, waives visas for Ukrainians. Britain, which is no longer in the EU, now allows Ukrainians to come, provided they have a sponsor.
The government in Poland, where 2.2 million people arrived, was there International help requestUnlike the 2015 refugee crisis — when people fleeing the wars in Syria and Libya mainly went to the continent’s richest countries, such as Germany — Ukrainians were generally settling in central European countries such as Poland and Slovakia. Both countries speak a language similar to Ukrainian, share cultural ties and centuries of history, and have tight labor markets.
Earlier this month, Polish President Andrzej Duda pressed visiting Vice President Kamala Harris during an hour-long meeting in Warsaw to expedite the issuance of US visas to Ukrainians in Poland hoping to join family members in the US, Warsaw Mayor Rafai Trzaskovsky urged the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to do the same. The thing is, during a separate meeting in the Polish capital.
“This is a test for us: Putin wanted to weaken us, divide us, and this is his tactic, to destabilize countries where there are refugees,” Mr. Trzaskovsky said in an interview. “We all know that…it won’t be for just a week or two.”
Tarini Barty and Drew Henshaw contributed to this article.
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