Ukrainians in US to Have Protections

Lawmakers of both parties had pushed administration for the move
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2022 6:07 PM CST
Homeland Security Grants Protections to Ukrainians in US
Victor Chepras, who is from Ukraine, waves Ukrainian flags Tuesday over Interstate 5 in Seattle to protest the Russian invasion of his homeland.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

As members of Congress and others have urged, the Biden administration on Thursday created a Temporary Protected Status program to protect Ukrainians living in the US from deportation. Homeland Security announced that the 18-month program will apply to Ukrainians who have lived in the US since March 1, CBS News reports, including those on temporarary student, tourist, or business visas. Eligible people will be able to apply for work permits, as well as deportation protections. Ukrainians in the US without permission also will be eligible; data show about 4,000 Ukrainians currently face deportation proceedings.

Twelve other nations have TPS designations, per Axios—including Haiti, Somalia, and Myanmar—which are usually granted when it's not safe for immigrants' home country to safely accept them. Russia's attack has forced Ukrainians to seek safety in other countries, said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. "In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States," he said. To receive the designation, Ukrainians will have to pass background checks, per the Washington Post.

Members of the House and Senate of both parties had urged the administration to act, with dozens of senators sending President Biden a letter this week. "Forcing Ukrainian nationals to return to Ukraine in the midst of a war would be inconsistent with America's values and our national security interests," the letter says. Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez told CNN, "You can't take Ukrainians who legally enter the United States and happen to be here, to then send them back to a war zone." (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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