Bipartisan group of senators requests Biden to protect Ukrainians from being deported

On Monday, Republican and Democratic lawmakers asked President Biden to temporarily protect Ukrainians in the U.S., citing the dangers in Ukraine.

Bipartisan group of senators requests Biden to protect Ukrainians from being deported

This country is currently under large-scale Russian military attacks.

42 senators, 40 Democrats and 2 Republicans, said that the Biden administration should grant Ukrainians in the U.S. temporary protected status (TPS) access. This is a program to provide humanitarian deportation relief for immigrant whose home countries have been affected by wars, natural disasters, or other crises.

In a letter to Mr. Biden, Senators Dick Durbin (Democratic chair of Senate Judiciary Committee), Bob Menendez (Democratic chair of Senate Foreign Relations committee) and Rob Portman (top Republican on Senate Homeland Security Committee) informed him that the ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine had made it "too risky" for deportees who wanted to return.

The lawmakers wrote that requiring Ukrainian nationals to return home to Ukraine during a war is inconsistent with America's values, and would not be in America's national security interest.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers stated that a TPS designation would be beneficial to a "limited population." They cited government figures showing that nearly 30,000 Ukrainians were granted U.S. temporary visas in fiscal year 2020. These include students, tourists, and business travelers from Ukraine.

According to CBS News, officials from the White House and Department of Homeland Security are considering offering TPS (Deferred Enforced Departure) as a program similar to deportation relief for Ukrainians living in the U.S. amid pressure from advocates.

According to Democratic Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley, a bipartisan group of legislators in the House of Representatives plans to also send a letter asking Mr. Biden to grant TPS/DED to Ukrainians.

CBS News obtained a draft of the letter. It reads: "In these times of crisis, it is important to reaffirm and ensure our commitment America's most sacred value and that Ukrainian nationals are provided safe haven."

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated Monday that there are no updates on a possible TPS designation for Ukraine. She also reiterated that approval of such a program requires an inter-agency process.

TPS and DED will protect them from deportation. They also allow eligible Ukrainians to apply for temporary work permits. These policies do not apply to those convicted of certain criminal offenses and have strict eligibility requirements.

If granted, the deportation relief programs would also exclude new arrivals to Ukraine. According to statistics from UN refugee agency, Ukraine has seen more than 520,000 people flee to neighbouring countries like Poland, Moldova and Romania.

Filippo Grandi (UN high commissioner for refugees) said Monday that as many as 4 million people could flee conflict in Ukraine over the next few weeks. This is the biggest European refugee crisis in Europe since the Balkans war.

Although it supports the resettling of Ukrainian refugees, the Biden administration stated that the vast majority of those displaced from Ukraine would likely settle in Europe.

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