The Biden administration is expected to announce new details soon on how Ukrainian refugees could apply to enter the United States on humanitarian grounds, a source familiar with the planning said.
The move comes nearly a month after US President Joe Biden pledged to admit up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing the invasion.
More than 5,000 Ukrainians attempted to enter the United States in March, including 3,274 at the southern border with Mexico, according to US Customs and Border Protection data.
The humanitarian parole program, reportedly under the Department of Homeland Security and could be announced as early as Thursday, would require Ukrainians seeking to enter the United States to be sponsored by a US citizen or individual, which would include resettlement organizations and nonprofit, the source said.
Individuals would have to undergo rigorous security checks – including biographical and biometric screening and full vaccinations and other public health requirements, such as receiving the Covid-19 vaccine – to be eligible, the source said.
Sponsors should pass their own security checks and declare financial support.
Through this process, applicants from Ukraine would be allowed to travel to the United States and be considered for humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis for up to two years, the source said. If accepted, individuals would be eligible for work authorization.
The Biden administration could start accepting applications for the program as early as the end of April, the source said.
In addition to the humanitarian parole program, the State Department is working to expand its operations of the refugee admissions program in Europe, the source added, with the goal of providing eligible individuals with greater access to the Lautenberg program. – a 1989 initiative to help those fleeing religious persecution from the Soviet Union – as well as strengthening referral mechanisms for Ukrainians seeking permanent resettlement.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that the administration was working to finalize details of how it would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to the United States.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment on the new details, but said additional details on the administration’s efforts would be announced “soon.” The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
More than five million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion in late February, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced on Wednesday.
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