President Joe Biden announced the “United for Ukraine” program to accept 100,000 refugees starting April 25
President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a new program for Ukrainian refugees seeking asylum in the United States that will also end entry for those trying to enter through the southern border with Mexico.
“This program will be fast, it will be streamlined, and it will ensure that the United States honors its commitment to go through the people of Ukraine and does not need to go through our southern border,” Biden said in a White House speech. .
The Unite for Ukraine program is designed to manage the additional 100,000 Ukrainians the president has pledged to accept from their war-torn country.
Vladimir Putin’s invasion forced millions of Ukrainians from their homes and five million fled to countries in Europe and the rest of the world.
“We’ve seen a terrible human cost of Putin’s ambition to conquer and control — about two-thirds — two-thirds — of all Ukrainian children have been displaced from their homes,” Biden said.
To help the humanitarian crisis, the largest since World War II, Biden announced in March during his trip to NATO headquarters in Brussels that the United States would accept 100,000 refugees.
But, without guidance from the White House on how to enter the United States, many Ukrainians figured it out on their own: arrive on a tourist visa, or fly to Mexico to enter through the southern border. .
Many, if not most of those on the southern border have been released to the United States via humanitarian parole, which allows people to stay temporarily.
However, once the “Unite for Ukraine” program begins on April 25, any Ukrainian trying to enter through the US-Mexico border will be turned away under Title 42, the public health order that the Department Homeland Security uses to deny refugees, Biden administrative officials said.
“As of April 25, Ukrainians seeking to enter the United States through a land border without a visa or without going through the ‘Union for Ukraine’ process may be denied entry under our applicable laws” , a DHS official said on a conference call. with reporters Thursday morning ahead of Biden’s remarks.
“We are continuing to apply Title 42 public health authority at the land border through May 23 and will be for all nationalities at the border,” the official noted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the use of Title 42, which has been used to deny more than 1.7 million people, is set to end on May 23. A swath of Republicans and some Democrats have urged Biden to delay lifting Title 42 over fears it will cause an increase in migrant crossings at the southern border.
Once the new program opens, any Ukrainian trying to enter the United States at the southern border will be turned away via Title 42 – the public health requirement – above Ukrainians seeking asylum in the United States crossing the El Chaparral port of entry to the United States in Tijuana
To date, primarily through the border with Mexico, the United States has received approximately 15,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Others have been arrested.
In March, US border officials arrested 5,000 Ukrainians attempting to enter by land, sea and air.
As for the Ukrainians who will be turned back at the southern border. they can apply for asylum through the “Unite for Ukraine” program, but officials warn they may find it difficult to meet vaccination requirements if they try to enter through Mexico.
“This program is clearly geared towards Ukrainians who have been displaced in Europe, it may be available for Ukrainians in Mexico, but access to some of the vaccines required in Mexico will likely be a bit more difficult in Mexico. We will not help facilitate these vaccinations in Mexico,” an administration official said.
“Travelling to Mexico will not offer any benefit to Ukrainian nationals under this new process,” the official noted.
More than 5 million refugees have left Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, while around 7.1 million people have been internally displaced, aid groups estimate.
Many of them stayed in border countries around Ukraine, with Poland taking most of them. The United States has offered more than $1 billion in financial assistance to displaced people.
US officials noted that many Ukrainians will want to stay in Europe to be close to the family fights in Ukraine and in hopes of one day being able to return to their home country.
“I think in many ways the program will be self-selected,” an official noted on the call.
Candidates for the Uniting for Ukraine program can apply through an online portal which will open on April 25. Applicants must have resided in Ukraine in February, have a sponsor in the United States and be vaccinated against covid.
Once an application is made through the portal, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will screen applicants to ensure that sponsors do not engage in exploitation or other forms of abuse. abuse that they are who they claim to be.
According to data released on Monday, more than 5,000 Ukrainian refugees were arrested by US officials as they tried to cross the border to flee the Russian invasion of their homeland in March.
Figures recently released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in March show that 5,071 Ukrainians attempted to enter the United States illegally by land, air or sea.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also extending Ukrainians’ Temporary Protected Status by 18 months, it announced Monday, allowing eligible people to stay and work in the country.
A Ukrainian woman and child seeking asylum in the United States are transported on a bus to the El Chaparral port of entry to await their turn to enter the United States – approximately 15,000 Ukrainians have entered the States United via Mexico