BELL COUNTY, TX — Millions of people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries as Russia continues to attack their country.
At a press conference following a meeting with leaders of allied countries, President Biden announced that the U.S. would open its borders to Ukrainian refugees.
”Many Ukrainian refugees will wish to stay in Europe, closer to their homes, but we will also welcome 100,000 Ukrainians to the United States with a focus on reuniting families.” said President Biden.
Those coming will be considered refugees and like those seeking asylum in the U.S. they are seeking protection from persecution but with one notable difference.
”The difference between a refugee and an asylee is that a refugee obtains their legal status abroad. They are in a refugee camp, or they are outside their country, and they come over with legal status. An asylum seeker has to be at the border or in the United States to seek protection.” said Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch, an immigration attorney based in Texas.
It is a lengthy process under normal circumstances let alone in times of war.
”It can consist of many interviews where the individual or the applicant is proving their case," said Lincoln-Goldfinch. "They’re showing that they have a fear of persecution, that it is well-founded, that it is based on past persecution, and that it is based on one of the protected grounds.”
This could take years to get done but there are other avenues that are being looked into such as humanitarian parole which would allow them to enter the United States and then file for refugee status or asylum.
Humanitarian parole is a step that is rarely taken.
”Historically, humanitarian parole is exceptional circumstances where someone needs to get surgery they can only get in the United States for example. We don’t typically see humanitarian parole used for a broad group of people,” said Lincoln-Goldfinch.
The exact method of accepting Ukrainian refugees has not been announced but the Biden administration says they are exploring all options.