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Will Senate Negotiators Look to Secure Aid for Ukraine by Eviscerating Protections Ukrainians Rely On?

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Washington, DC A powerful New York Times story by Zolan Kanno-Youngs, “For People Fleeing War, U.S. Immigration Fight Has Real-Life Consequences,” highlights some of the real people who might be harmed by the policies under discussion in the Senate’s ongoing border and immigration legislative talks. The story, which includes a focus on Ukrainian families who relied on humanitarian parole to seek safety in the United States, drives home an underappreciated aspect of the negotiations:

“Republicans want to see a severe crackdown on immigration in exchange for their votes to approve the military aid — and restricting the number of people granted parole is one of their demands.”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“Ukrainians are fleeing violence and trauma. Many only reached safety via parole or asking for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Will Senate negotiators really look to secure votes to aid for our allies in Ukraine by eviscerating humanitarian parole – the very path to safety that thousands of Ukrainian families have relied on? This is just one of the nonsensical policies that seem to be on the table and another reminder why rushing through this process will create long-term damage.”

Below, find key excerpts from the New York Times article, “For People Fleeing War, U.S. Immigration Fight Has Real-Life Consequences”:

“The Marchuks are among more than a million people whom the Biden administration has allowed into the United States over the past three years under an authority called humanitarian parole, which allows people without visas to live and work in the United States temporarily. Parole has been extended to Ukrainians, Afghans and thousands of people south of the U.S.-Mexico border fleeing poverty and war.

Now the program is at the heart of a battle in Congress over legislation that would unlock billions of dollars in military aid for some of President Biden’s top foreign policy priorities, such as Ukraine and Israel.

…For Mr. Marchuk, the fact that a program that saved his family has become a bargaining chip on Capitol Hill feels wrong. Although the latest version of the deal would mostly spare Ukrainians seeking parole, he feels a deep sense of solidarity with other people — regardless of their nationality — who may be left behind if Congress imposes limits on the program.

Americans, he said, should welcome people like his family. Mr. Marchuk, a former technology executive in Ukraine, said he has found work helping other refugees with the advocacy organization Global Refuge, as well as driving for DoorDash, UPS and Amazon since he arrived in Baltimore.

‘Refugees deliver these packages,’ said Mr. Marchuk, 36. ‘American citizens who have an education,’ he said, very often don’t want to work as drivers.

…Keeping close tabs on the negotiations in Congress, Mr. Marchuk said he finds himself being pulled in two directions. He sees the parole program as a lifeline for desperate families. But he desperately wants Congress to provide military aid for Ukraine, too.

He said it might be the only hope for his sister, who is on the front lines in Ukraine, to survive the war.”