Ukrainians, lawyers call for chronology and other details on welcoming refugees to the United States

Mariana Pereshnitska, who lived with her 9- and 11-year-old daughters during the war in Ukraine, did not think she would ever see such atrocities as the alleged atrocities committed by Russian troops against civilians.

“I never thought there would be a war in our country and my children would live in fear,” he said from Lviv last week via Facebook Messenger.

Berezhnytska and her children are afraid to go out during the day, and even more afraid at night, are tortured by the sounds of sirens.

“They do not have a normal life. Like all children in our country, ”he said. “We’re scared all the time.”

Pereshnitska wants to leave Ukraine, along with the more than 4.3 million people who have already fled Russia’s invasion on February 24, and she and her daughters will relocate to New York, where her mother lives.

Both were delighted when President Joe Biden announced plans to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing the country to the United States.

But their initial enthusiasm waned as the announcement was delayed.

“I was so excited when I heard about the opportunity to go to my mom, but it turned out to be untrue for a while,” he said. “I do not know how long to wait, but I’m afraid it’s too late.”

Lawyers’ groups and refugee resettlement agencies said key details about how and when the US would allow more Ukrainians into the country were still missing, including reunification with families living in the United States.

At the end of March, the Biden administration said that Ukrainians and others would be allowed into the United States through a variety of means, including the U.S. Refugee Admission Program, immigrant and immigrant visas and other means. According to the administration, the focus will be on welcoming Ukrainians with family members to the United States. More details are expected in the coming weeks.

“This is not something that Poland or Romania or Germany should do on their own,” Biden said in Brussels last month. “This is an international responsibility.”

NBC News reported last month that it was unclear what force Biden would use to speed up the entry of Ukrainians. They said the White House was considering both humanitarian parole, the presidency’s guarantee of permanent legal status and the Priority-2 rank plan used by Afghans and others to escape war zones.

Ukrainians seeking asylum in the United States are staying at a city government shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. Gather on the 6th.Mario Toma / Getty Images

“At a time when a quarter of the population has been displaced, 100,000 commitments cannot be aspirational,” said Krish O’Mara Vignaraja, head of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and chief executive officer of the refugee resettlement agency. “It should be minimal in what we do. So, the question is what’s next?”

He said other key questions include whether the commitment is subject to a deadline, the right paths that management will use and how to focus on some people, while focusing on others.

Naomi Steinberg, vice president of policy and advocacy for the Jewish American humanitarian organization HIAS, said: “We do not think it’s necessary to force or wait in Europe for those who have family reunification cases because they are loved. People here desperately want them to come.”

“We need to make sure these family reunification cases come through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program,” he said. “We want the administration to rely heavily on resettlement against humanitarian parole,” which does not provide a path to legal permanent residence or citizenship.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As new horrific details of Russia’s war in Ukraine emerge, there is a call for a more concrete plan.

Earlier this week, gruesome pictures of civilians killed across the city of Pucha emerged, and on Friday, Ukrainian authorities said 50 people, including children, had been killed when two rockets struck a train station in the village of Gramadorsk in the Donetsk region, when thousands tried. Discharge.

More than 1,600 civilians have been killed and more than 2,200 injured since Russia’s offensive, the United Nations said Friday, believing “real figures are significantly higher.” This week, the mayor of the besieged port city of Mariupol said at least 5,000 people have died since Russia invaded.

Residents walk in Pucha, Ukraine
On Wednesday, residents of a street in Pucha, Ukraine, walked among the rubble and destroyed Russian military vehicles.Chris McGrath / Getty Images

While some Ukrainians continue to wait in Ukraine or other parts of Europe, others seek asylum across the southern border of the United States – a risky process that does not guarantee permanent security.

“When families leave the war, getting protection should not be put to the test,” Vignaraja said. “I think we’re very concerned there.”

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

The administration announced last week that families and single-adult asylum seekers deported to the southern border since the outbreak would have the opportunity to enter the United States and seek asylum from May 23.

Thousands of immigrants are currently living in dire conditions and in camps after returning unscathed under a rule known as Title 42 in northern Mexico.

Vignaraja said, “Inequality is irrelevant everywhere, especially when it comes to life and death decisions.”

He said data from the new U.S. Refugee Admission Program shows that the United States resettled only 12 Ukrainians in March.

“Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said.

In Ukraine, Pereshnitska said he wanted “people to know that our children have lost their childhood, that we want to save their lives, and that they are innocent of what they are doing.”

“We are not asking for money or goods. We are asking for help to reunite with the family who are caring for us,” he said. “Give us this opportunity as soon as possible.”

His mother, Lydia Volosyanko, a sixth-grade teacher at a Ukrainian school in New York City, said with tears in her eyes, “I hope I can save their lives for my daughter and my grandchildren.”

“I pray every day,” he said.

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