(NEW YORK) — Since the start of Russia’s invasion a year ago, more than a quarter million Ukrainians have relocated to the U.S. as a result of the biggest refugee crises in Europe since World War II.
Some 115,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the United States since a historic effort began in the early days of the war to assist with the displaced population, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The department’s “Uniting for Ukraine” initiative, which grants temporary parole status to Ukrainians, is in addition to more than 156,000 Ukrainians who have been processed into the U.S. through other means, including with visas and refugee admissions.
Over the past year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received more than 215,000 requests to sponsor Ukrainian citizens and family members — a required component of the parole program. So far, nearly 150,000 Ukrainians have been vetted and approved for travel in the U.S. under “Uniting for Ukraine.”
“DHS continues to honor the President’s commitment to Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s unprovoked war,” DHS spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said in a statement to ABC News. “DHS remains committed to supporting Ukrainians in the United States, and we continue to explore opportunities to provide avenues for humanitarian relief and protection for Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s unprovoked war.”
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has counted more than eight million Ukrainian refugees across Europe, largely in Poland and Germany.
With significant support from the U.S. and other Western democracies, Ukraine has so far defied estimations that it would be steamrolled into oblivion by the Russian military. The U.S. government has directed to Ukraine more than $75 billion in military, humanitarian and financial assistance, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ukrainians have received hundreds of millions more in private donations and non-governmental aid. For example, fundraising efforts for Ukraine are among the largest ever on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe with $275 million raised for Ukrainian relief efforts.
For those who remain in the country, non-governmental organizations like Doctors Without Borders have jumped in to provide life-saving care and medical transportation services to safer parts of the war-torn nation.
The fallout from Russia’s invasion continues to have ramifications across the globe with no end in sight.
The “Uniting for Ukraine” status lasts for two years, according to USCIS, and parolees can apply to extend the period. The parole status allows Ukrainians to pursue more permanent means of remaining in the U.S. including the possibility of initiating an asylum claim. DHS also designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status last March which provides protections for Ukrainians already in the U.S. by last April.
A decision on whether to extend TPS status is expected this summer. A re-designation of TPS would be required for those who have arrived since last April to qualify.
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