Uniting for Ukraine: Ukrainian Parolees Streamlined Beeline to Federal Assistance

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  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

The "Uniting for Ukraine" program announced by the Biden administration on April 21, 2022, was portrayed as a private sponsorship program. According to the program website, Uniting for Ukraine "provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole." Ukrainians must have a sponsor stateside who agrees to provide financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States. However, the program's website is misleading. Federal funds (your tax dollars) can go to "resettlement agencies that in turn can use this money as added support in the 'Declaration of Financial Support' form submitted to admit a Ukrainian beneficiary into the United States."

Ukrainians are allowed to travel from Europe to the U.S. Of note, however, is that people from Ukraine already have "been granted work permits and other benefits by the European Union (EU)." During his March 24, 2022, speech at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, President Biden committed "$1 Billion in humanitarian assistance" to Ukrainians seeking humanitarian assistance in America. He also promised to allow 100,000 Ukrainians into the U.S. with a "focus on reuniting families."

Congress also passed, in May, the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (H.R. 7691) with $40.1 billion in FY2022 "emergency supplemental appropriations for activities to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine" to help fund the sponsorship program. The administration has continued to pour billions into the conflict in Ukraine.

The length of the humanitarian parole for Ukrainians is two years and is renewable. Humanitarian parole is, in theory, temporary. Parolees must have a "compelling emergency" and an "urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit" to enter the U.S. with this status. The Uniting for Ukraine program allows for a streamlined process of parole, making it relatively easy for Ukrainians to enter, live and work in the U.S.

There are several important takeaways concerning the program. Ukrainian parolees are eligible and encouraged to apply for Social Security numbers. They are also eligible for employment.

Ukrainian parolee benefits

Ukrainian parolees must have U.S.-based sponsors; however, a "U.S.-based supporter does not have to be a U.S. national or citizen, or even a green card holder. Asylees, refugees, parolees, TPS holders, and beneficiaries of deferred action (including DACA) or Deferred Enforced Departure can also act as supporters under this program."

Supporters do not need to be U.S. citizens/https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/uniting-for-ukraine/frequently-asked-questions-about-uniting-for-ukraine

Sponsors can also come from multiple resettlement agencies. They can join together to support a parolee.

Ukrainian Sponsors

Per H.R. 7691, Ukrainian parolees are eligible for "refugee resettlement benefits, including cash and medical assistance (which were recently extended from eight to twelve months)." In addition, Ukrainian parolees can use their federal assistance to sponsor other parolees.

"Ukrainian parolees receiving federal assistance and resettlement benefits can use those funds to sponsor additional Ukrainian parolees, who in turn will receive the same federal assistance upon arrival. And in case these funds are not sufficient, resettlement agencies will be able to chip in additional funds to get the process rolling, potentially creating a taxpayer-funded cycle."

A Uniting for Ukraine support line is available to parolees to assist with connecting them with resources, resettlement benefits, medical benefits, and employment assistance. While Biden committed to admitting 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, there are no "numerical limits" on the number of Ukrainian citizens who can apply for parolee status under the program. Ukrainian citizens who are already in the U.S. may not apply. However, "Ukrainian citizens who have continuously resided in the United States since April 11, 2022, and who have been continuously physically present in the United States since April 19, 2022, may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)."

As of June 3, 2022, according to CBS News, more than 45,000 Americans have submitted applications to resettle, over 6500 Ukrainians had arrived in the U.S., and "U.S. immigration officials have also authorized the travel of 27,000 additional Ukrainians identified by American sponsors." There were allegedly an additional 22,000 Ukrainians "along the Southern border" at the time of the news report.

Parolees must have lived in Ukraine prior to the invasion in February. They must be Ukrainian citizens with valid Ukrainian passports. If they do not meet those requirements, they must be an immediate family member of a valid passport-holding Ukrainian citizen who is the beneficiary of Uniting for Ukraine. Children traveling without their parents are not eligible for parole. All must clear biographic and biometric security checks and must present "pre-travel medical attestation showing they have completed vaccine requirements for measles, polio, and the first dose Covid-19 vaccine or that they are eligible for an exception to those vaccine requirements. Within 14 days following their arrival to the United States, beneficiaries need to attest to receiving a medical screening for tuberculosis."

$900,000 in funding has been set aside for Ukrainians by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families (which includes the Office of Refugee Resettlement). Currently, funds and assistance are available to parolees through September 30, 2023. According to H.R. 7691, the funds can be used for "grants or contracts with qualified organizations, including nonprofit entities, to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services, including wraparound services, housing assistance, medical assistance, legal assistance, and case management assistance." Parolees are also eligible under H.R. 7691 for resettlement benefits, including "resettlement assistance, entitlement programs, and other benefits available to refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157) to the same extent as such refugees."

July statistics from a court document filed in August show Ukrainians are among the record numbers of "global illegal entrants" coming across the Southwest border. In other words, these are illegal aliens from non-contiguous countries like Egypt, Iran, Iraq, various Eastern European countries, the African continent, Asia, and other global communities.

Biden's policies are meaningfully different from those of his predecessors. He has repeatedly stated that his administration strives to provide "safe, orderly, and legal pathways for individuals to be able to access our legal system" with little regard to the strength of the claim for asylum. Trump's Remain in Mexico (MPP) has been suspended. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Biden administration in June to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols. A Biden administration rule effectively rubber stamps asylum grants because it "removes judges and adversarial ICE lawyers from the process." A border judge is the only thing between Biden and the lifting of Title 42. Border Patrol has allegedly apprehended 2,242,413 illegal aliens at the Southwest border alone in the first ten months of FY 2022. This is a new yearly record, with two months of reporting left.

2022 Stats/https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/nationwide-encounters

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