At the same time, the Biden administration discourages Ukrainians from trying to enter the US through the southern border with Mexico.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has announced a new program that it says will make it easier for Ukrainian refugees to resettle in the United States, as russian offensive in his country of origin continues.
in a statement On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the “new streamlined process” will allow Ukrainians to apply for humanitarian parole, a status that does not provide a path to residency or citizenship, but allows people to stay and work in the US for two years.
To be eligible for the program, dubbed “Unite for Ukraine,” they must have resided in Ukraine as of February 11, have a sponsor, a person or entity, in the US, complete COVID-19 vaccinations and pass security checks, he told the department. It will formally launch on Monday.
The move came after Biden. Announced last month that the United States would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war.
More than five million people> have fled Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an all-out invasion in late February, with most seeking refuge in neighboring Europe.
“We are proud to fulfill President Biden’s commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression to the United States. The Ukrainian people continue to suffer immense tragedy and loss as a result of Putin’s unprovoked and unwarranted attack on his country,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in Thursday’s statement.
But at the same time, the department discouraged Ukrainians from trying to enter the US through its southern border with Mexico, where thousands of refugees they have been piling up in makeshift camps and other facilities in recent weeks.
US authorities had been allowing Ukrainian refugees to enter the border on humanitarian reasonsexempting them from restrictive policy known as “Title 42” which has been used since 2020 to turn away most other asylum seekers seeking US protection.
“After the launch of United for Ukraine [on Monday]Ukrainians presenting at US land ports of entry without a valid visa or prior authorization to travel to the United States through Uniting for Ukraine will be denied entry and advised to apply through this program,” DHS said.
Some 15,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the United States since the Russian invasion began, mostly through Mexico, the Reuters news agency reported.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Biden said the new program will “supplement existing legal avenues available to Ukrainians, including immigrant visas and refugee processing” and “provide a convenient channel” for Ukrainians with an American sponsor. enter the country.
“This program will be fast; it will simplify and ensure that the United States lives up to its commitment to the people of Ukraine,” the US president said.
More recently, the US has used humanitarian parole to help bring thousands of Afghans into the country following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. But amid processing delays, advocates have urged Congress to pass a law that would grant them permanent residency.
Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington, said that despite the way the Biden administration has characterized the new program for Ukrainians, “it doesn’t seem to be as easy as it sounds.”
“While the US government says it will streamline this, speed it up, it has not created any new avenues for Ukrainian refugees to come to the United States,” Halkett reported. “There are already some raised eyebrows [as to] if it’s as good as the US government is selling it.”
We are proud to fulfill @POTUSThe commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression to the United States. The Ukrainian people continue to suffer immense tragedy and loss as a result of Putin’s unprovoked and unwarranted attack on his country. https://t.co/uYm4XfplBE
– Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (@SecMayorkas) April 21, 2022