Mar 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden offering protected status to Ukrainians in U.S.

 U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the 90th Winter Meeting of USCM
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden administration will grant Ukrainians already in the U.S. a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation, shielding them from deportation for 18 months.

Why it matters: More than 1 million Ukrainians have already fled their country for shelter elsewhere in Europe. The designation follows bipartisan pressure on the administration to protect Ukrainians in the U.S. who might otherwise face deportation.

  • An estimated 30,000 Ukrainians in the U.S. are on temporary visas or do not have legal status, so they'll benefit from the designation, according to calculations by the Migration Policy Institute.
  • TPS will not only block their deportation but offer them work permits.
  • Overall, roughly 345,000 people born in Ukraine were living in the United States as of 2019.

The big picture: TPS is used when immigrant home countries cannot safely accept deportations. There are currently 12 countries with TPS designations, including Haiti, Somalia and Myanmar.

  • As of last May, there were around 320,000 people living in the U.S. under the policy.
  • Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced Wednesday an 18-month extension of the TPS designation for South Sudan, as well as a new TPS designation for Sudan.

What they're saying: “Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” Mayorkas said.

  • “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”
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