Awareness - February 28, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - February 28, 2022

Over 500,000 Ukrainians have been displaced by the Russian invasion last week

Last week the world was stunned by the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. While Ukrainians continue their efforts to defend their democracy, there are also many fleeing toward neighboring countries to escape the dangers of war. On Friday Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, tweeted that over 50,000 refugees had fled in the first 48 hours of conflict. By Monday morning that number swelled to over 500,000

So far, neighboring countries have offered a warm welcome to Ukrainians fleeing the war and Politico reported at least 281,000 Ukrainians had been welcomed in Poland alone; followed by 84,500 in Hungary, 36,400 in Moldova, 32,500 in Romania, and 30,000 in Slovakia. According to the New York Times, the European Union will ask its member nations to grant temporary asylum for up to 3 years for all Ukrainians who arrive.  

As Europeans open their borders to accept arriving Ukrainians, U.S. Congressional leaders and immigration advocates have called on President Biden to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to protect Ukrainians currently in the United States. Analysts at Migration Policy Institute estimate that about 30,000 Ukrainians without permanent immigration status could benefit from these protections, which would keep them from being returned to a country at war if their visas were to expire. You can add your voice to these calls to support Ukrainians here

AirBNB reached its goal to provide housing to 20,000 Afghans

Last Tuesday, AirBNB announced that they have met their goal of providing free, temporary housing for Afghan evacuees – 6 months after they first announced the goal. They also announced that AirBNB hosts also chipped in with discounts or free housing, which allowed them to exceed the goal to welcome 1,300 more arrivals than initially anticipated. They also announced their plan to renew this goal and offer housing to another 20,000 new arrivals, and to expand that welcome to other refugees beyond those evacuated from Afghanistan.

New data from the State Department shows that most Afghan evacuees were resettled in Texas, California, and Virginia

The map below from CBS News shows where the most Afghan evacuees were resettled as they completed their processing on U.S. military bases and were moved to communities across the United States. The majority of these new arrivals moved to Texas, California, and Virginia. Many of the top cities listed in the CBS article are those with a strong history of refugee resettlement and an existing Afghan community for support. 

The article also notes that the U.S. waived the usual requirement that refugees must be resettled within 100 miles of a local resettlement office, due to the urgent need to find housing and the housing crisis in many cities across the country. So while the top states align with those who traditionally receive larger numbers of refugees, the records show that almost every state in the country received Afghan evacuees: from 2 in Hawaii to over 10,000 in Texas. This interactive map from the National Immigration Forum shows stories of communities across the United States (and the world) extending welcome to Afghan evacuees. 

Map from CBS News. Accessed February 28, 2022.