Apr 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Group launches search for 100K U.S. sponsors for Ukrainian refugees

Oleksii Yeromin, wrapped in a Ukrainian flag, hugs a Ukrainien refugee as they cross the San Ysidro PedWest port of entry along the US-Mexico border between Tijuana, Baja California, and the U.S.

Oleksii Yeromin, wrapped in a Ukrainian flag, hugs Ukrainian refugees as they cross the San Ysidro PedWest port of entry along the US-Mexico border. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A nonprofit group that coordinated help for Afghan refugees to the U.S. is launching a new effort to recruit 100,000 American residents to sponsor Ukrainian refugees.

The big picture: Welcome.US is spearheading the effort as the Biden administration announced on Thursday the "Uniting for Ukraine" program which will allow Ukrainian citizens to apply for humanitarian parole.

  • To be eligible for the humanitarian parole, Ukrainians must have been living in Ukraine as of Feb. 11, 2022, have a sponsor in the U.S., complete vaccinations and other public health requirements, and pass "rigorous" screenings and security checks, per a DHS press release.
  • The recruitment push will be primarily funded by $3.6 million from the Goldman Sachs Gives fund. More than 60 partners, including service organizations and Ukrainian-American groups, are joining forces to get out the word.

Details: Under the plan, those Americans interested in sponsoring a Ukrainian family can sign up at ukraine.welcome.us beginning April 25.

  • Sponsors can offer to temporarily open their homes to newcomers through Airbnb.org or donate to Airbnb.org to help cover temporary housing costs.
  • People can also donate airline miles through Miles4Migrants or purchase needed items for refugees.

What they're saying: "We are eager to help mobilize and support the many Americans who want to do more for Ukrainians and others seeking refuge,” said Welcome.US CEO Nazanin Ash.

  • Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, a member of the Welcome.US CEO Council, said in a statement that his team "felt a responsibility to act" to help Ukrainians forced to flee their homes and that "we will continue to support the Ukrainian people in their hour of need.”

Background: Around 5 million people have fled Ukraine in the nearly two months since Russia launched its large-scale invasion, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees tracker has found.

  • The U.N. refugee agency has labeled the exodus the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
  • About 2.8 million Ukrainian refugees as of April 19 have gone to Poland -- the most of any other country, according to the tracker.
  • Just under 760,000 have fled to Romania.
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