USCRI Statement on Authorization of Refugee Benefits for Ukrainians

By USCRI May 20, 2022

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) welcomes the recent passage by the U.S. Congress of a supplemental spending bill that, among other things, authorizes refugee benefits for Ukrainian parolees. Ukrainians who were paroled into the country between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, will generally be eligible for benefits to the same extent as refugees.

For those entering the country under the Uniting for Ukraine program or Ukrainians who came through the U.S.-Mexico border as parolees, the law gives them access to public benefits to the same extent as refugees, with a few exceptions.

“Ukrainians and those displaced by the Russian invasion have come to this country seeking refuge,” USCRI CEO and President Eskinder Negash said. “The access to refugee benefits is crucial for their well-being and integration in their new communities.”

While the authorization creates eligibility for resettlement benefits provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), entitlement programs, and other public benefits, it excludes reception and placement benefits administered through the U.S. State Department.

In addition to the Uniting for Ukraine program, the Biden Administration has also stated that it will mobilize the U.S. refugee resettlement program (USRAP) for vulnerable Ukrainians who would benefit from permanent resettlement and offer more resources to process Lautenberg applicants. The Lautenberg program reunifies historically persecuted religious groups from countries in the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine, with families in the United States. USCRI encourages the Biden Administration to utilize USRAP whenever applicable.

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.

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