President Biden Grants TPS to Ukraine
By Patricia Elizee, Esq.,
President Biden’s administration granted thousands of Ukrainians currently residing in the U.S. temporary relief from deportation. This humanitarian move came from the ongoing military conflict with Russia.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the protection is for Ukrainians who cannot return to their country. As of March 1st, they can remain in the U.S. and find legal employment for 18 months.
The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program grants immigrants permission to stay and work for a specified period. The program accommodates extraordinary circumstances like natural disasters and war.
Background to President Biden’s Decision
Shortly after the Russian invasion, advocates and lawmakers in Congress started vocal campaigns. The aim was to encourage President Biden’s administration to protect Ukrainians staying in the U.S. from deportation.
Congress members wrote a bipartisan letter to the administration. They urged the president to grant Ukrainians Temporary Protected Status (TPS) amidst the ongoing invasion.
Congressman Tim Ryan joined hands with U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick, Dave Joyce, Ted Lieu, and others to write the letter.
Congressman Tim Ryan stated that forcing Ukrainian citizens to return to a country that’s still under attack is immoral. He affirmed that it was the right step to take. He also offered his support to Ukrainian friends and loved ones in the U.S. and abroad during this challenging time.
The letter explains the effects of the administration failing to take action. It explains that it would affect Ukrainian citizens without permanent visas. They would have no choice but to return to a country that’s still under attack.
The representatives urged the administration to use any legal pathways to protect these people. They argued that the Ukrainians should also receive:
· Special Student Relief (SSR) for students
· Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) grant for Ukrainian citizens
The Russian invasion of several Ukrainian cities left thousands dead or severely injured. Russia's move to capture the Chernobyl nuclear plant poses a significant risk. It's possible to disperse radioactive dust in multiple locations within the country.
The attacks via airstrikes and heavy shelling drove thousands of Ukrainians to seek refuge in the west. Innocent, distressed civilians are now looking for shelter in subway stations.
President Biden released a statement indicating that Putin premeditated the war. He is responsible for the current human suffering and catastrophic loss of life. This invasion is the most massive ground war in Europe since World War II.
The Ukrainian people are courageous as they step forward to defend their home country. As they continue resisting, about 2,000 Ukrainian students and 30,000 Ukrainian nationals in the States feel the effects in the U.S.
The letter resounded that forcing these innocent people back to a nation with prolonged conflicts is not right. Such a move would be against the nation’s commitment to protecting human rights. Many were surprised that the Biden administration did not automatically grant TPS to Ukraine once they believed that Russia would invade Ukraine.
During this crisis, leaders must reaffirm America’s commitment to the most sacred values. They must ensure that all Ukrainian nationals in the U.S. have a safe haven.
The Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Currently, there are about 4,000 deportation proceedings involving Ukrainian citizens. Immigration court data also shows that there are approximately 3,000 Ukrainians seeking asylum.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program is a 18-month program allowing Ukrainians in the U.S. to apply for deportation protections and work permits starting from March 1st.
However, TPS doesn’t offer the beneficiaries permanent residency. It's also only available to people already in the U.S., not those who plan to leave Ukraine. This limitation forced more than a million civilians to seek refuge in neighboring countries.
In a statement, Mayorkas stated that Russia's unprovoked and premeditated attack caused the current war. The senseless violence forced Ukrainians to flee to other countries.
More than a million Ukrainians are already in neighboring countries in central Europe. All these people migrated in the short span since Russia's invasion on February 24th.
The DHS estimates that the TPS program will benefit approximately 75,100 Ukrainians in the States. Most of these people have a temporary business, tourist, and student visa, which will likely expire before the conflict ends.
The program also accommodates some Ukrainians who have no legal permission to be in the U.S.
President Biden Administration’s Stand
Unlike Trump’s administration, the Biden administration is more willing to utilize its TPS authority. It expanded the program to accommodate additional 400,000 immigrants. This includes citizens from Venezuela and Haiti who left their countries due to economic and political crises.
The invasion also pushed the U.S. and other allies to impose significant sanctions against Russian companies and banks. President Biden’s administration also implemented new sanctions against the wealthy Russian elites. Most of them are very close to Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.
The president stated that the Department of Justice would start targeting the crimes of Russian tyrannies. “They steal from the Russians to line their pockets as innocent Ukrainians hide from Russian missiles in subway stations.”