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Temporary Protected Status for Ukraine is a small step forward

On Thursday, March 3, 2022, the Biden administration announced that it will give temporary protected status (“TPS”) to Ukrainians who arrived in the U.S. on or prior to March 1, 2022.  TPS will allow those Ukrainians to legally live and work in the US for the next 18 months and may be extended.  TPS status is given to citizens of countries sustaining conflicts that make it unsafe for them to return to their country.

An estimated 34,000 Ukrainians in the United States will benefit from this decision, including about 4,000 facing deportation.  ICE also stopped all deportation flights to Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and other Eastern European countries.

“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Thursday. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”

In addition to TPS, immigration advocates would like to see other pathways for legal protection for Ukrainians.  TPS does not assist Ukrainians who arrive after March 1.  Currently, the number of European refugees the US can accept is capped at 10,000 for the fiscal year.   European countries have taken in more than 1 million Ukrainian refugees and an estimated 4 million refugees are expected to flee in the coming weeks.  The Biden administration could increase the number of European refugees allowed or give Ukrainians authorization to travel to the U.S., and grant humanitarian parole which allows individuals facing urgent humanitarian need to enter and stay in the U.S. without a visa.

For more information on TPS for Ukraine, click here.

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