Vanessa Cárdenas: “U.S. global leadership on refugee and asylum issues is a proud legacy we have inherited and can still live up to, as the welcome for Ukrainians reminds us. It’s time to ensure that related policies toward other countries’ refugees and asylum seekers are as good as the American people.”
Washington, DC – Government data show that the U.S. has welcomed more than 100,000 Ukrainians since the start of the Russian invasion. As Camilo Montaya-Galvez reports for CBS News, “U.S. admits 100,000 Ukrainians in 5 months, fulfilling Biden pledge”:
“The U.S. received more than 100,000 Ukrainians in roughly five months following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fulfilling President Biden’s pledge of providing a temporary safe haven to those displaced as part of the largest refugee exodus since World War II, government statistics obtained by CBS News show.
The tens of thousands of Ukrainians who have set foot on U.S. soil since the February 24 invasion have arrived through various immigration channels and with different legal status, most of them with temporary permission to stay in the country, according to the government data.
…Ukrainians who were processed at ports of entry along the U.S. southern border after flying to Mexico, an unprecedented flow that peaked in April before being largely shut down, were exempted from the Title 42 pandemic-era restrictions on humanitarian grounds and also granted parole on a temporary basis. Ukrainians who arrived on temporary visas, such as those for tourists and business travelers, similarly don’t have a clear pathway to obtain permanent U.S. legal status.
However, Ukrainians on U.S. soil can seek asylum, which, if granted, would allow them to become permanent residents. Ukrainians who arrived in the U.S. before April 19 are also eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), another humanitarian program that allows beneficiaries to work and live in the U.S. legally.
…Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of nine national U.S. resettlement groups, applauded the administration’s extensive effort to offer a safe haven to Ukrainians, but she said it illustrates that some immigrants are ‘benefiting from urgent action more than others … The effort is a classic example of where there’s a will, there’s a way,’ Vignarajah said, citing policies preventing Latin American migrants and Afghan refugees from coming to the U.S. ‘We need to recognize that there is inequity in our immigration system.’”
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director for America’s Voice:
“The U.S. can still step up and do big things when it wants to. Case in point: the Biden administration and Americans across the country have welcomed more than 100,000 Ukrainians since the Russian invasion. The many examples of communities helping Ukrainians resettle in safety are powerful reminders of a proud national tradition of welcoming those from across the world who are fleeing violence and persecution.
Yet this unequivocally positive news about welcoming Ukrainians also underscores that we need to step up similarly for other communities. From Haitian asylum seekers’ mistreatment and deportations to the deterrence-only policies inflicted on those seeking refuge along our southern border, our current policies are inconsistent and unequitable along troubling lines of race and background.
U.S. global leadership on refugee and asylum issues is a proud legacy we have inherited and can still live up to, as the welcome for Ukrainians reminds us. It’s time to ensure that related policies toward other countries’ refugees and asylum seekers are as good as the American people.”