On Thursday, March 24, the White House announced “plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s aggression through the full range of legal pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.” The White House indicated that the U.S. government would work to develop new programs with a focus on welcoming Ukrainians who have family members in the United States.
The Washington Post reports that the Russian invasion has forced more than 3.6 million people to flee Ukraine. Over 2.2 million have fled to Poland, where authorities responded by greatly reducing normal border formalities. Over 550,000 Ukrainians have fled to Romania and over 370,000 have gone to Moldova, the highest number per capita of any country.
The White House announcement that the U.S. will step up its efforts to accept fleeing Ukrainians through various existing programs and through developing new programs is welcome. The effectiveness of the programs, however, will be determined by the speed at which they are implemented and the willingness to cut through the standard bureaucratic red tape to get desperate people relocated and out of danger. Given the failures on accommodating fleeing Afghans after the fall of the Afghan government, we have reason to be wary. Nonetheless, the announcement is a positive step and we will certainly be monitoring progress toward the stated goals.
On March 7, 2022, USCIS announced a new policy directed at young individuals who have been granted special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) but are not yet eligible to apply for…
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