How can I sponsor or host a Ukraine family in the USA?
More than 2 million Ukrainians have left the country since the Russian invasion began in February. Can individuals sponsor families to help them settle in the US?
In a little over two weeks, 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled their country. This comes as Russian attacks on schools, homes, hospitals, roads, and other forms of critical infrastructure have been bombed, making life nearly impossible for people who find themselves trapped in the conflict zone.
Oleg Ustenko, one of Ukraine's highest ranking economic advisors has reported that the war has dealt over $100 billion worth of damage to buildings and the countries infrastructure.
Will the United States open its borders to Ukrainian refugees?
Various officials in the Biden administration have been asked if the US plans to increase the cap on the number of refugees the US will accept from Europe this year, and so far, the answer seems to be no. The current quota caps the number of European refugees at 10,000. This decision, in part, relates to the estimate that over 30,000 Ukrainian nationals will apply for TPS in the coming months.
Can US citizens sponsor Ukrainian families?
The short answer is no.
While in other cases, families and employers are able to sponsor immigrants to facilitate their entry and legal status, no such program has been established for Ukrainian refugees.
As of 2019, the US Census Bureau had reported that there were a little over one million people of Ukrainian decent living in the US --many of whom have family that they would like to see allowed to enter the country.
What actions is the US taking to support Ukrainian refugees?
Secretary of State Anthony Bliken told CNN that the US will "support the countries that are bearing the immediate burden of taking in Ukrainians, and then, as appropriate, if people seek refugee status in the United States, of course we will look at that and, I'm sure, act on that."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that it is the belief of the US government that the "The vast, vast, vast majority of refugees [...] will want to stay in neighboring countries in Europe where many of them are — have family, many of them have worked, many of them have friends and others." The Biden administration has said that it will instead focus its efforts on providing support to countries "who are welcoming refugees from Ukraine, who are providing them the assistance they need in this moment of time."
However, some leaders like the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, whose country has accepted over a million Ukrainian refugees asked asked Vice President Kamala Harris if the US will consider establishing a simplified process for those with relatives in the country who wish to remain in the US until the war ends. Psaki responded that she was unclear of how many people were interested in this option and said that it is one option being evaluated.
What actions have been taken by Canada and the United Kingdom?
Canada and the United Kingdom have announced that they will make it easier for Ukrainians to seek refuge to their countries. The UK has stated that they are "changing the immigration system to support British nationals and their families who usually live in Ukraine, and Ukrainians in the UK and their families. We will also offer a new sponsorship scheme for Ukrainians without any family ties to the UK."
Canada is establishing a similar program, Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program, which they aimed to have up and running by mid-March. This program will have no caps on the number of applications that can be submitted and will be "the fastest, safest, and most efficient way for Ukrainians to come to Canada." To avoid long wait times, the Canadian government is eliminating various visa requirements, but will still conduct a background check and some security screenings. If accepted, Ukrainians will be able to stay in the country for up to two years but that there will be options for those who seek to make Canada their permanent home as well.
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