A group of lawmakers from both parties is asking President Biden to remove the regulatory hurdles delaying the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, according to The Washington Post (subscription).
What’s happening: “Sixty-five members of Congress, mostly Democrats and a handful of Republicans, asked the president to extend temporary protected status to thousands of Ukrainians who sought refuge at the nation’s ports and borders in recent weeks, expedite immigration processing so that U.S. citizens and green-card holders can bypass the slow-moving refugee program and sponsor their relatives themselves, and waive costly application fees for people who fled, ‘often with little more than the clothes on their back.’”
- More than 4 million Ukrainians have fled their country, and the Biden administration said in March that the U.S. would take in 100,000 refugees.
- However, the refugee program, which offers residency, aid and other benefits “can take months or years because of required background checks and administrative backlogs,” according to the Post.
What’s being done about it: The White House said Tuesday officials are at work on an “expedited process” for war refugees, but details were not made available.
- Nearly 3,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in just the past week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CBS on Wednesday.
What could be done: The group of lawmakers urged the White House to extend eligibility for Temporary Protected Status, as well as increase staffing and resources at U.S. embassies so Americans and green-card holders can apply to bring immediate relatives to the U.S.
- They also said the U.S. government could waive the steep immigration application fees and add embassy workers to process more applications.