U.S COMMITTEE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
  • LANGUAGE OPTIONS


Congress Restores Access to Benefits for Thousands of Ukrainians

By USCRI April 25, 2024

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) applauds Congress for its vote authorizing Ukrainians who are now arriving in the United States to receive resettlement support and other assistance.

As part of a $95 billion supplemental package signed by President Biden on April 24, Ukrainian humanitarian parolees who have arrived in the United States since September 30, 2023, are newly eligible for resettlement assistance and other benefits available to refugees.

“This long-delayed vote reaffirms the United States’ commitment to welcome Ukrainians displaced by the war in Ukraine,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “We are grateful members of Congress finally addressed this harmful lapse in support for newly arriving Ukrainians.”

The Office of Refugee Resettlement will issue a Policy Letter to publish the new eligibility requirements for Ukrainians to receive services under the updated law. That Policy Letter will be shared here upon its release.

In May 2022, Congress authorized Ukrainian humanitarian parolees to receive resettlement assistance and other benefits available to refugees, including cash assistance, federal mainstream benefits, case management, legal services, and more. Generally, Ukrainians were considered eligible for this support if they arrived by parole between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023.

This authorization connected thousands of Ukrainians to services throughout the United States—but it came with a looming cut-off date.

In the fall, Congress did not update U.S. law to grant eligibility to Ukrainians who were newly arriving after September 30, 2023. This lapse had immediate consequences across the country, as Ukrainians arriving in the United States could not enroll in services at resettlement agencies—as their compatriots had, without controversy, for more than a year.

As Negash argued in The (Cleveland) Plain-Dealer, the lapse suddenly left Ukrainians and their U.S.-based sponsors “in limbo.”

Congress also approved $481 million in supplemental funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as well as $9.15 billion in other humanitarian aid.

“For months, we’ve recognized that extra funding was necessary to support the growing needs of domestic refugee resettlement and international humanitarian operations,” Negash said. “At a time of worsening displacement—in Sudan and across the world—Congress met the moment in a key way.”

USCRI believes new authorization language will likely be necessary later this year. The new benefits eligibility window in law now applies to Ukrainians arriving via parole through September 30, 2024. Without another update, newly arriving Ukrainians will be ineligible for support once again starting in October.

“Given current country conditions in Ukraine, it is likely that Ukrainians will continue to seek refuge in the United States as the war continues,” Negash said. “Congress should be ready to act to continue this authorization into Fiscal Year 2025.”

Congress has not authorized an extension of support for newly arriving Afghan parolees, who have been rendered ineligible for benefits since the fall as newly arriving Ukrainians had been. Appropriations bills for the next fiscal year should also address this cut-off, as Afghans continue to arrive in the United States via the humanitarian parole process.

“Lapses in support for parolees once again remind us how the United States must equitably provide access to lasting protection, most centrally through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and its track record of success,” Negash said.

 

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

For inquiries, please contact: [email protected].


Related Posts

U.S. Must Take Lead in...

By Eskinder Negash Special to The Seattle Times Two weeks after he took office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the...

READ FULL STORY

USCRI Expands Programming in Mexico

ARLINGTON, VA – The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is pleased to announce expanded programming and the opening...

READ FULL STORY

USCRI Update: Country Conditions in...

On February 29, 2024, a surge in gang violence erupted in Haiti, primarily in the capital of Port-au-Prince, that today...

READ FULL STORY