The Biden administration announced Thursday that Ukrainians will be allowed to remain in the United States for eighteen months. Ukraine has been granted the designation of temporary protected status. This designation protects Ukrainians in the United States from deportation.

Dozens of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle wrote letters to the White House in support of the action. Eligible Ukrainians will be allowed to apply for work permits.

“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”

Roughly 28,000 Ukrainians in the U.S. are eligible to apply, according to estimates from the Center for Migration Studies in New York.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. said that more than one million Ukrainians have fled the country since the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainians granted TPS aren’t random migrants who have entered the country illegally during the Biden border crisis. They are here on student visas or are business travelers and tourists. Apparently those up for the temporary status arrived in the United States legally.

“Ukraine clearly meets the standard for TPS as it is obviously too dangerous for Ukrainian nationals to return to Ukraine due to the ongoing armed conflict,” wrote a group of senators led by Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on Monday.

The designation would primarily apply to students, business travelers and tourists who are in the U.S. on temporary visas but cannot safely return to their country, the lawmakers said.

“Granting TPS to the limited population of Ukrainians who are currently in the U.S. on a temporary basis will create a minimal disruption for our country, but forcing these individuals to return to a war zone would be unacceptable,” they wrote.

The number of 28,000 Ukrainians here legitimately is a drop in the bucket to the two million illegal migrants who have crossed the southern border during the Biden administration. Most Americans don’t have a problem with people from other countries entering the U.S. legally and Americans are known for their compassion and generosity. No one expects the United States to return Ukrainians to a war zone. The protected status granted Thursday is temporary – only for eighteen months. It is very different than how illegal migrants are allowed to remain permanently by Team Biden. Biden’s open southern border policy is a different issue.

Other countries granted with TPS include Haiti, Syria, Venezuela, and Yeman. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) signed on to the Durbin and Portman letter. He said that based on his conversations with the Biden administration, he expects TPS to be put in place for Ukrainians.

I think the next conversation will be about the United States taking in Ukrainian refugees. Do we trust Secretary Mayorkas and DHS to undertake that process? Mayorkas has failed miserably on the southern border. How can he and his employees be trusted to properly vet and process another population of refugees? Mayorkas made the announcement on TPS.

The announcement indicated that “Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. Individuals who attempt to travel to the United States after March 1, 2022, will not be eligible for TPS. Ukraine’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the forthcoming Federal Register notice. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). TPS applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and undergo security and background checks.”

The Canadian government is also putting in place a program for Ukrainians who want to temporarily come for up to two years. They will be allowed to receive work permits if they are eligible.

For Ukrainians who want to come to Canada temporarily, Canada will soon create a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, available for individuals fleeing Ukraine. There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can apply. The announcement states, “This is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way for Ukrainians to come to Canada and eliminates many of the normal visa requirements. All Ukrainian nationals will be able to apply through this new path, and, pending background check and security screening, their stay in Canada could be extended by at least 2 years.” The program is expected to open in two weeks.

Canada is also looking at creating a new family reunification sponsorship program for immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents leading to permanent residence. The program will be developed over the next few weeks.

The statement concludes that “All Ukrainians who come to Canada as part of these measures will be eligible to apply for open work permits, making it easier for employers to quickly hire Ukrainian nationals.” In addition, as previously announced, Canada will issue open work permits to Ukrainian visitors, workers and students who are currently in Canada and cannot safely go home.”

Putin’s maniacal plan to reunite the former Soviet Union, beginning with the violent annex of Ukraine, has united the world against him and in support of Ukrainians. They continue to inspire us all with their bravery and resilience.

I’ll end with this. Before the opening night performance of Verdi’s Don Carlos, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus observed a moment of silence with the audience, followed by a performance of the Ukrainian national anthem.

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