The Biden administration Thursday released a new program coined “Unite for Ukraine” which offers Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion temporary admission to the US. The humanitarian program builds upon current legal pathways available to Ukrainian refugees, which include immigrant visas and refugee processing. The administration claims it is “continuing to ratchet up the pressure on Putin and further isolate Russia on the world stage.”
The “Unite for Ukraine” program aims to expedite the arrival of refugees, streamlining the application process to ensure that the US honors its commitment to Ukrainians, while providing a “safe and efficient way” into the US. Part of the process includes not requiring refugees to enter through the southern US border and allowing ordinary citizens and organizations to sponsor refugees. This will help shelter some of the 5 million people, ten percent of Ukraine’s total population, who escaped from Ukraine into neighboring countries.
Officials stated that Ukrainians attempting to enter through the US-Mexico border will be denied entry, as over 15,000 refugees have arrived without permission over the past few months. Last month President Biden pledged to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians into the US. The new program will help fulfill that pledge by providing an expedient channel for secure and legal migration into the US, so long as the refugees have a US sponsor, such as family or a non-governmental organization (NGO).
In addition to this new program, Biden also announced Thursday a ban on all Russia-affiliated ships from docking in US ports and shore access points. The US Treasury Department also rolled out new measures to ensure sanction enforcement against Russian entities and individuals.
Commenting on the actions, Biden stated: “We will not lessen our resolve. We’re going to continue to stand with the brave and proud people of Ukraine. We will never fail in our determination to defend freedom and oppose tyranny. It’s as simple as that.”