Americans Can Sponsor Ukrainian Refugees

US government unveils new program
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2022 2:50 PM CDT
Americans Can Sponsor Ukrainian Refugees
A group of Ukrainians arrive to a shelter Thursday, in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Americans can now sign up to be prospective sponsors of specific Ukrainians looking to come to the US. Border officials have admitted 15,000 Ukrainians without valid travel documents in the past three months, with most of those entering through the US-Mexico border "after multi-flight trips from Eastern Europe," per CBS News. But that route has now been shut down, with the Biden administration saying Ukrainians lacking valid travel documents will generally only be admitted through a new private sponsorship program dubbed Uniting for Ukraine.

The Department of Homeland Security's website now links to an application form to be filled out by legal residents and organizations who can prove they are able to financially support Ukrainians seeking a temporary place of shelter. Prospective sponsors, who will be subject to background checks, must identify specific Ukrainians whom they wish to support, who are unable to file an application on their own. These Ukrainians, along with their children and spouses, must pass a security screening and show proof of vaccination for measles, polio, and the coronavirus before being granted humanitarian parole, per the New York Times. They must also have fled Ukraine after Feb. 11, per the AP.

Unlike those entering the US through the formal refugee process, these Ukrainians will not be eligible for permanent residency but will be able to live and work in the US for up to two years. Though groups including the International Refugee Assistance Project have said this doesn't go far enough, per Politico, US officials have said most Ukrainians interested in coming to the US are not seeking a permanent home. Want to apply but don't have a name of a Ukrainian in need? Humanitarian group Welcome.US is offering to connect interested parties "with organizations looking for potential sponsors." It notes volunteers are also needed for "acts of welcome" ranging from "tutoring on language skills ... to serving as a guide to life in a new city." (More Ukrainian refugees stories.)

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