July 25, 2024

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The United States extends legal residency for Ukrainian refugees processed along the Mexican border

The United States extends legal residency for Ukrainian refugees processed along the Mexican border

The Biden administration is allowing thousands of Ukrainian refugees processed along the southern border after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to stay and work in the United States legally for at least another year, according to a government notification obtained by CBS News.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and displaced millions of refugees, Thousands of Ukrainians He flew into Mexico seeking to enter the United States along the southern border, in particular in California. In just a few weeks, US border officials have allowed more than 20,000 Ukrainians into the country, exempting them from pandemic restrictions known as Title 42 that have kept hundreds of thousands of immigrants from staying in the US.

The dedicated operation along the US-Mexico border closed in late April after the Biden administration created a formal program for displaced Ukrainians to travel to the US directly if they had American sponsors. Under this program known as United for UkraineMore than 118,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the United States

While both peoples were allowed into the country under a humanitarian immigration authority known as parole, Ukrainians brought to the United States under the Union for Ukraine policy received two-year parole grants. Those processed along the southern border have been granted parole for 12 months, which means their temporary permission to live and work in the United States. It was due to expire this spring.

But under the policy announced Monday, the government will consider extending the grant of parole for Ukrainians processed along the southern border for a year between February 24 and April 25, 2022. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects to review those cases within four weeks, according to the notice. Those who are approved will be able to download their updated parole grants online.

Homeland Security spokesperson Angelo Fernandez Hernandez confirmed the policy change in a statement.

“With the continuing unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented humanitarian crisis it caused, DHS assesses that there remain urgent humanitarian reasons, in addition to significant public benefit, to extend the conditional release of certain Ukrainians and family members on a case-by-case basis. to comply with the conditional release offered under the Union for Ukraine,” Fernandez Hernandez said.

Ukrainians seeking asylum in the United States gather at a city government shelter for Ukrainians on April 7, 2022, in Tijuana, Mexico.

Getty Images


Ukrainians living in the United States since April 19 can apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program that allows immigrants from crisis-stricken countries to obtain work permits and deportation protection. However, like parole, TPS is temporary and does not offer recipients permanent legal status.

While U.S. government officials have said that most Ukrainians would like to return to Ukraine, it is unclear when the fighting there will stop. Those seeking to remain in the United States permanently must apply for asylum or other immigration benefits, such as family green cards, to remain in the United States legally.

Monday’s announcement could be a test of how the Biden administration handles temporary legal status for the tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants it has allowed into the United States under parole authority.

In addition to the tens of thousands of Ukrainians who have been released on parole in the United States since last year, the Biden administration has used parole power to accept more than 70,000 Afghan evacuees after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. And most recently, as part of an effort to deter illegal border crossings, the administration granted conditional release to thousands of immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela with American sponsorship.

Unlike other immigration benefits, there is no direct way for immigrants on airport parole to request an extension of their legal permit to remain in the United States, as they are processed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a law enforcement agency that does not usually adjudicate applications.

Afghans who have been transferred to the United States under the parole process will begin You lose relay protection and work permits this summer, and only a handful of them achieved permanent legal status through asylum applications or special visas for wartime allies, according to data reported by CBS News.

While a bipartisan group of congressmen proposed to make Afghan evacuees eligible for permanent residency, a bill to do so, called the Afghan Adjustment Act, failed to garner enough support from Republican lawmakers.

Advocates have urged the Biden administration to extend parole to Afghans to allow more time for Congress to work or for evacuees to apply for asylum or other immigration benefits.

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