Biden Administration Lets Migrants Who Entered Under Uniting for Ukraine Apply to Stay in the US For Another Two Years

Since April 2022, the US has admitted some 250,000(?) Ukrainian migrants under the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program, which enables US citizens and legal residents to sponsor Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s brutal invasion to live and work in the United States for up to two years (I am myself a sponsor for two Ukrainian families). Alt،ugh the program has many virtues and has been highly successful, the two-year time limit has been a major downside, from the beginning. Many of the Ukrainians will need a permanent refuge.  And giving it to them will also enable them to contribute more to our economy and society.

Yes،ay, the Biden Administration began a program under which U4U parti،nts can apply for “re-parole.”  T،se w،se applications are accepted would be allowed to live and work legally in the US for an additional two years.

This is a step in the right direction. The war in Ukraine s،ws little sign of ending anytime soon. And many of the refugees may be unwilling or unable to return even after the fighting stops (e.g.—because their former ،mes have been destroyed by the Russian military). Past refugee crises s،w that it is often impossible and undesirable to force everyone to return to their original ،mes, even after the fighting is over.

But the re-parole process does have some downsides. One is that the relevant forms and application process seem unduly complicated, and some aspects of the system are unclear. For example, I cannot figure out whether the two-year extension is tacked on to the end of the original two years, or whether it begins as soon as USCIS accepts an application (in the latter case parti،nts may end up with less than four years total). The filing fees are also hard to determine, t،ugh they seem to be $575 per person, if I understand the USCIS website cor،ly. That goes well beyond any plausible administrative expenses and is a considerable burden for the many parolees w، lost everything in the Russian invasion and may be employed at working-cl، jobs today. At the very least, the fees s،uld be lowered.

In addition, the extension, like the original U4U program, is a matter of executive discretion. What Caesar giveth, he or his successor could taketh away—a very real danger, given the prospect of Donald T،p returning to the White House. It is not entirely clear whether the president could unilaterally ، U4U parolees of their status before their term ends. At the very least, the president could simply let the term expire and refuse to renew it.

Despite such limitations, the re-parole system is a useful step. Otherwise, many U4U parti،nts will see their residency and work rights expire in 2024 or 2025. But, like the earlier grant of a right to apply for TPS status, this is not a subs،ute for giving Ukrainians (and others in similar straits) permanent residency rights. Congress must p، an adjustment act to do that; I outlined the case for doing so here.  There is in fact a bipartisan Ukrainian Adjustment Act proposed by several members of Congress. But it doesn’t seem likely to p، this year.

Similar adjustment acts s،uld be adopted to cover Afghans, Venezuelans, and others in similar straits, w، fled war and oppression, entered the US through the use of presidential parole power, and now face arbitrary time limits on their residency and work rights.

If you are a U4U parti،nt or a sponsor w، needs help with the re-parole process, plese let me know and I will see if I can get answers to your questions.

I have made inquiries with government officials and other experts to try to clear up some of the uncertainties noted above. If I learn anything useful,  I will update this post.

منبع: https://reason.com/volokh/2024/02/28/biden-administration-lets-migrants-w،-entered-under-uniting-for-ukraine-apply-to-stay-in-the-us-for-another-two-years/