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Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

DHS expected to announce parole extension for some Ukrainians in the US

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Global Refuge Staff

March 13, 2023

Contact: Tim Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security is expected to extend humanitarian parole protections for certain Ukrainians living in the U.S. following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The move is intended to address a subset of approximately 20,000 Ukrainians who were admitted into the U.S. at the southern border for a period of one year prior to the Biden administration launching a formal 2-year parole program known as “Uniting for Ukraine”. Specifically, Ukrainians paroled into the U.S. at a port of entry between February 24, 2022 and April 25, 2022 will be considered for an extension – the results of which will be communicated to concerned beneficiaries over the next four weeks, approximately.

The dynamic underlines the precarious nature of humanitarian parole, which allows beneficiaries to live and work in the U.S. temporarily, but does not afford a pathway to permanent legal residence. In addition to Ukrainians seeking safety, the Biden administration has leveraged its parole authority for urgent humanitarian reasons to admit more than 70,000 Afghan evacuees following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021; while parolees are not typically eligible for federal assistance, both populations have been authorized by Congress to access a range of resettlement benefits, provided that their parole has not expired.

In response to the forthcoming parole extension process for Ukrainians, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge, said:

“This process will provide critical relief to thousands of Ukrainians who have been facing tremendous anxiety and uncertainty about their future here. Vulnerable families should not be penalized for the path they take to save their lives, regardless of their country of origin. For this earliest-arrived group of Ukrainians, the continued legal right to live, work, and access resettlement assistance in the U.S. is absolutely crucial to their well-being.

Moving forward, the Biden administration should not wait until the brink to extend critical humanitarian protections. For example, the earliest arrivals of the 70,000 Afghan evacuees paroled into the U.S. will see their protections expire as soon as this summer. The administration’s broader use of parole must be accompanied by a thoughtful plan for how and when temporary protections will be extended, and how beneficiaries can access pathways to longer-term status.”

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