US to Admit 100k refugees from Ukraine
Today, the Biden Administration announced plans to admit 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. I read through the entire, long Whitehouse press release so that you don't have to. It's a lot of words, and it says exactly nothing about implementing processes to change or improve admission of people from Ukraine. I will post more information as this becomes clear, and if processes are undertaken to improve admission. One of the primary objectives of Refugee Projects is staying apprised of laws and policies that impact refugees and their advocates, in order to provide refugees and their advocates with reliable updates, so that you can spend your time surviving and helping others.
Right now, what this announcement means is far from clear. The US is still denying admission to Ukrainians seeking non-immigrant visas when they fail to prove they do not intend to remain in the US. It is still setting dates out several months for processing immigrant visas. It is still turning away Ukrainians from the southern border, without proof of medical necessity and direct intervention by members of Congress. It has yet to even publish the regulations for temporary protected status for those in the US hoping to remain.
Typically, refugee processing happens outside of the home country (Ukraine) and also outside of the potential host country (the United States). Typically, it also takes several years. Occasionally, however, we have established in country processing for potential refugees. The wait might be as long, but at least those who wanted to seek refuge in the US would be able to do so. We asked, repeatedly, for a version of this (an Afghan Adjustment Act) for Afghans. Instead, we got parole, which is no status, just a promise not to deport. Afghans in the US still have to seek and acquire status (through special immigrant visas, family based immigrant visas, asylum applications). All of that takes a tremendous amount of time (years) and money (tens of thousands of dollars in salaries of US agency employees per applicant, adjudicating each application separately over the course of years). So far, we haven't gotten it. Afghans have been failed by us, our systems are backlogged, the government sends out confusing information and then backtracks, lawyers and advocates have been working pro bono for months (years in many instances) and are running in circles.
I hope the US implements a more efficient system for Ukraine, even if it is unfair to do so for only this group. In any event, we won't know until the administration tells us what process it plans to use to admit and process these 100,000 refugees, or even if they will be refugees. Biden may be using the term figuratively, to include those seeking visas or even those who will apply for TPS. As I learn more, I will post. Stay tuned to Refugee Projects for updates.