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HIAS Applauds U.S. Announcement to Allow 100k Refugees from Ukraine

SILVER SPRING, Md.— President Biden announced today that he would allow for 100,000 Ukrainians and others to come to the United States through a full range of legal pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. 

“We applaud President Biden’s leadership by committing to share responsibility with Europe by welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians to the United States, especially those who have family here or are particularly vulnerable,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “As with the Kosovars evacuated from Macedonia in 1999, we urge that they be brought in with all the protections and benefits of refugee status, and be assisted with voluntarily returning home to Ukraine when it is safe to do so.” 

The Biden administration has said that it has sped up visa processing for relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents and dedicated more staff to handle applications for humanitarian parole, which was used for Afghan evacuees last year but that does not guarantee permanent legal status. Biden is also considering the Priority-2 designation program, which has been used for people escaping war zones.

The plan lays out an ambitious vision of U.S. leadership in this crisis, but there are still many questions, said Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ senior vice president for global public affairs. “Will vulnerable people, like asylum seekers from African countries who have not received the same warm welcome as others fleeing Ukraine, be included? How will the refugees who have been waiting to be resettled in the U.S. be affected? Will private citizens in the U.S. be able to sponsor Ukrainian refugees? We look forward to working with the administration in shaping this response.” 

The White House also announced that it will provide more than $1 billion in new funding toward humanitarian assistance to support people within Ukraine. The U.S. has already provided more than $123 million to help European countries receive and host millions of Ukrainian refugees.

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