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USCRI: Parole Extension Process for Ukrainians is a Welcome First Step on More Permanency for Parolees

By USCRI March 13, 2023

The Department of Homeland Security announced on March 13 that the agency would allow parole extensions for Ukrainians who arrived in the United States early last year.  

After Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, thousands of Ukrainians received parole at U.S. ports of entry to be admitted into the United States for one year. However, parole does not confer a pathway to lawful permanent residency, or green card status. With the one-year anniversary of the start of the war passing on February 24, Ukrainian humanitarian parolees were increasingly facing the end of their parole periods. 

DHS announced that Ukrainians paroled into the United States at a port of entry between February 24, 2022, and April 25, 2022, would be considered for a one-year parole extension. DHS estimated it will take about four weeks to consider and vet Ukrainians who were paroled during that period. Employment authorization would also be extended for the additional year, according to DHS. 

The announcement will allow Ukrainians to remain in the United States lawfully, continue their work authorization based on their parole, and stay eligible for critical benefits. Crucially, it will extend protections to Ukrainians who were not eligible for Temporary Protected Status, another key program granting temporary protections and work authorization for its beneficiaries.   

“This announcement is an overdue but welcome source of relief for thousands of Ukrainians who fled to the United States in the weeks following Russia’s invasion,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “We commend the administration for taking this crucial step to ensure continuous protections for Ukrainians.” 

Immigration parole has been heavily utilized in the government’s response to displacement from the war in Ukraine. Last April, the Biden administration announced the Uniting for Ukraine program, which allowed U.S.-based supporters to sponsor Ukrainians in the United States. Through the program, Ukrainians can obtain travel authorization and a two-year parole period in the United States. 

The federal government will face this same question again next year when these one-year parole extensions and the two-year parole periods for U4U recipients begin to expire,” Negash said. “There must be a broader, interagency effort toward getting Ukrainian parolees who wish to stay in the United States on the path to a more permanent status.”  

The lack of permanency for parolees is also an increasingly urgent matter for Afghans, who were paroled into the United States after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in August 2021. Afghans’ two-year parole periods, granted under Operation Allies Welcome and Operation Allies Refuge, will begin lapsing later this year. However, the federal government has not yet communicated a plan or a process for Afghans who are facing the end of their parole and cannot return to Taliban-run Afghanistan.  

“Like Ukrainians, Afghans deserve better than silence from the administration on the looming end of their parole,” Negash said. “The U.S. government as a whole must embrace proposals that put at-risk populations on the path to permanency in their new home, such as the bipartisan Afghan Adjustment Act.” 

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 press inquiries, please contact: aplazasrocha@uscrimail.org. 


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