Mar 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden: U.S. to welcome Ukrainian refugees "with open arms"

President Biden said Friday that the United States will welcome Ukrainians displaced by Russia's unprovoked invasion "with open arms."

Why it matters: The United Nations estimates that so far more than 2.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its attack in late February, making it the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

  • Over a million people have left Ukraine for Poland, and hundreds of thousands more have crossed into Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova and Russia.

What he's saying: "We will make sure Ukraine has weapons to defend against an invading Russian force. We will. We will send money and food and aid to save the Ukrainian people," Biden said from the White House Friday.

  • "And I will welcome Ukrainian refugees — we should welcome them here with open arms if they need access," he added.

The big picture: Thousands of Ukrainians have been admitted to the U.S. since Russia invaded Crimea and war erupted in the Donbas region of Ukraine in 2014, though their immigration numbers have recently fallen because of the coronavirus pandemic, Axios' Stef Kight reports.

  • It's unclear how many will want to resettle outside of Ukraine for the long term, though refugee organizations have called on the Biden administration to do more to give them that option in the U.S.
  • Last week, the Biden administration granted Ukrainians already in the U.S. a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation. That shields them from deportation and lets them get work permits for 18 months.

Go deeper: Congress approves humanitarian and security assistance to Ukraine

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