Awareness - March 7, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - March 7, 2022

DHS granted TPS to Ukrainians in the U.S. as of March 1st

On Thursday Secretary Mayorkas announced that DHS would designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months to Ukrainians who were in the U.S. as of March 1st. This temporary status will allow them to be free from fear of deportation and receive work authorization. It is estimated that there are around 75,000 Ukrainians currently in the U.S. who could be eligible to apply. Meanwhile, ICE has also placed a halt on deportation flights to Ukraine, Russia, and seven other European countries due to the threat to the region from the Russian invasion. TPS only applies to those who were already in the U.S. as of March 1, 2022, so any Ukrainians entering after that date would not be given these same protections. 

As of Wednesday, UNHCR announced that the number of Ukrainian refugees who fled over the initial week of conflict had surpassed 1 million people, the “swiftest refugee exodus this century.” Most of those fleeing have been welcomed into countries that share a border with Ukraine, and Poland has received more than half of the refugees in this current crisis as of Friday’s data on the UNHCR Operational Data Portal. While it is expected that most Ukrainian refugees will be settled in Europe, with over a million individuals of Ukrainian descent in the United States, it can be expected that some Ukrainians will seek to resettle here near family and friends.

We have edited our Phone2Action to reflect appreciation for the administration extending TPS to Ukraine, and urging them to prepare for the needs of Ukrainian refugees in the coming months - you can add your voice here.

Report estimates that 78,000 allies were left behind in Afghanistan

A report released by the Association of Wartime Allies revealed the disturbing news that the U.S. has only evacuated approximately 3% of the Afghans who were eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) due to their work for our government. According to the report, about 81,000 Afghans had applied for this visa by the time that Kabul fell to the Taliban, and it’s estimated that 78,000 of those remain behind in danger. NBC News reported that the State Department has called this figure inaccurate, but has not provided alternate numbers that they deem correct. 

Court rulings offered conflicting opinions on the continued use of Title 42

In the latest development from the ongoing lawsuit against the use of the Title 42 policy to expel migrant families, a DC Circuit Court of Appeals of Appeals ruled on Friday that Title 42 expulsions would be allowed to continue, but should be limited “only to places where they will not be persecuted or tortured.” This lawsuit is specifically regarding the use of Title 42 to expel families with children, so would not apply to single adults encountered at the border. 

Later in the day, a U.S. judge in Texas ruled that the Biden administration could no longer exempt unaccompanied children from Title 42 expulsions. This order will be stayed for 7 days and it is unclear what next steps the Biden administration intends to take. 

With these conflicting rulings on the use of Title 42, there have been renewed calls for the administration to discontinue the use of the controversial policy. While first implemented under President Trump, it has been renewed multiple times already under the Biden administration, and has been used to carry out over 1 million expulsions since he took office. Dozens of doctors and public health experts have said that there is no public health justification for keeping Title 42 in place, and have called on the administration to end the policy. President Biden himself indicated in his State of the Union address that “most Americans in most of the country can now be mask free” and “we are moving forward safely, back to more normal routines.” As pandemic precautions are eased across the country and leadership encourages a return to normal, the case for continuing the use of Title 42 to expel migrants to “prevent the introduction” of COVID weakens. You can call on President Biden to immediately end Title 42 and to restore asylum protections with a pre-written email or tweet here