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Certain Ukrainians eligible to extend their stays in the US

DHS announces change for estimated 25,000 Ukrainians and immediate family members who entered the U.S. at a port of entry

Volunteers with signs welcome Ukrainian refugees as they arrive at the Tijuana, Mexico airport to help them on their journey to the United States after fleeing the war in Ukraine, in April 2022.
Volunteers with signs welcome Ukrainian refugees as they arrive at the Tijuana, Mexico airport to help them on their journey to the United States after fleeing the war in Ukraine, in April 2022. (Patrick T. Falllon/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Homeland Security said Monday that certain Ukrainians who entered the U.S. at a land border shortly after Russia’s invasion, and were given permission to stay for one year, may be eligible to remain longer in the country.

The potential extensions will be available to an estimated 25,000 Ukrainians and their immediate family members who entered the U.S. at a port of entry from Feb. 24, 2022, through April 25, 2022, and were allowed to live and work in the U.S. for one year under a legal authority known as parole, according to a DHS spokesperson.

Many of these individuals entered the U.S. from Mexico at a port of entry after Russia invaded Ukraine in February of last year, but before the Biden administration had announced its program, dubbed “Uniting for Ukraine,” that allows Ukrainians with U.S. sponsors to fly directly to the U.S. and remain for up to two years.

The DHS spokesperson said there are still “urgent humanitarian reasons” to extend the parole period for these Ukrainians so they line up with those who benefitted from the Uniting for Ukraine program.

“As Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented humanitarian crisis it has caused continue, DHS assesses that there remain urgent humanitarian reasons, as well as a significant public benefit, for extending the parole of certain Ukrainians and family members on a case-by-case basis to align with the parole provided under Uniting for Ukraine,” the spokesperson said.

Ukrainians do not need to apply for parole and work permit extensions. DHS will instead “proactively make available online an updated arrival record form with the extended parole period,” according to the spokesperson. The department estimates this review process will take approximately four weeks.

The move represents the latest showing of support for Ukraine by the Biden administration, as the Eastern European nation enters its second year of war with Russia.

The approximately 25,000 Ukrainians who were allowed to cross the border into the U.S. last year were granted exemptions from the Title 42 border expulsion policy, a pandemic-era directive that has blocked hundreds of thousands for Central American migrants from accessing asylum protections.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also designated Ukraine last year for Temporary Protected Status, which allows Ukrainian citizens who entered the U.S. in April 2022 or earlier to apply for deportation relief and work authorization given unsafe conditions in the country.

In a stark demonstration of support for Ukraine, President Joe Biden visited Kyiv last month for the first time since Russia’s invasion and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Earlier this month, the White House asked Congress to set aside $6 billion to “support Ukraine, NATO and other European partners” in fiscal 2024.

Mark Satter contributed to this report.

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