Homeland Security announced plans to allow Americans to pledge to sponsor as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to be admitted to the U.S. for quick admission.
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said individuals or “entities” can act as sponsors, pledging to financially support Ukrainians once they are here. Ukrainians will need to be able to prove their criminal history.
Mr. Mayorkas said they’ll be admitted under his “parole” powers, which grants a short-term temporary legal status, with the hope of a more permanent status to come later. It’s the same method that was used for the 77,000 Afghans airlifted from Kabul to the U.S. last year.
“We are proud to deliver on President Biden’s commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression to the United States,” Mr. Mayorkas said.
More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled their country over the two months since Russia’s attack, the U.N. said this week.
Some have traveled to Europe to find work, while others have made it to Mexico to attempt to cross the southern border. Customs and Border Protection reported nearly 3,300 attempts by Ukrainians to enter Mexico from March. There were nearly 2,000 additional attempts at airports.
People who have crossed from Mexico to be admitted so far have been accepted, even though they are illegally in the country. But Homeland Security said once the parole policy goes into effect April 25, border jumpers will be “denied” and told to apply for admission through the Uniting for Ukraine program instead.
Mr. Mayorkas had initially predicted most Ukrainians are expected to stay closer to their home country, with hopes of returning after Russia’s war on their country is concluded.
The March surge of people coming to the U.S. indicates that many are still trying to reach the United States. And Mr. Biden states that the country should play a part in alleviating the pressure on European countries.
The U.S. went through an earlier iteration of this last year, with the 77,000 Afghans evacuated directly from their country amid Mr. Biden’s troop withdrawal.