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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Ukrainians will not be able to enter the U.S. from Mexico without a valid visa: DHS

DHS has advised that Ukrainians will not be able to enter the U.S. from Mexico without a current and valid visa.
Ukrainian refugee in Tijuana. Photo: Manuel Ortiz / P360P

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday that Ukrainians will not be able to enter the U.S. from Mexico without a current and valid visa.

Through a statement, the agency detailed and "strongly" encouraged Ukrainians seeking refuge in the United States who do not have and are not eligible for a visa to seek entry through "United for Ukraine" from Europe.

This pathway, he said, which will be available as of April 25, will be the safest and most efficient way to seek temporary refuge in the U.S. He added that the federal government is already working with European partners to ensure that Ukrainians can comply with COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

"Ukrainians should not travel to Mexico to attempt to enter the United States. Following the launch of 'Unite for Ukraine,' Ukrainians who present themselves at U.S. land ports of entry without a valid visa or authorization will be denied entry and will be advised to apply through this program," the document states.

Just this Thursday, President Joseph Biden announced the "Unite for Ukraine" program, a new streamlined process to provide Ukrainian citizens who have fled the war caused by Russia's invasion with opportunities to seek refuge in the United States.

The above, fulfilling President Biden's commitment to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia. 

In addition, the State Department announced increased refugee resettlement processing and increased access to visa processing at consular posts abroad to complement the efforts of countries across Europe hosting Ukrainian citizens who have been displaced. 

"We are proud to fulfill President Biden's commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression to the United States. The Ukrainian people continue to suffer immense tragedy and loss as a result of Putin's unprovoked and unjustified attack on their country," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alexander N. Mayorkas. 

"DHS will continue to provide relief to the Ukrainian people, while supporting our European allies who have endured so much as a result of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine," he stressed. 

For his part, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that the U.S. supports the people of Ukraine, and will help fulfill the commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainian citizens "and our partnership with the Department of Homeland Security will help us fulfill that commitment." 

United for Ukraine is a streamlined process for Ukrainian citizens who have been displaced by Russian aggression to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States.

A Ukrainian woman and her daughters wait at customs to cross from Ukraine to Poland. Photo: Manuel Ortiz / P360P

To be eligible, Ukrainians must have been residents of Ukraine as of February 11, 2022, have a sponsor in the United States, complete immunizations and other public health requirements, and pass rigorous biometric and biographic security checks, DHS said.

Ukrainians approved through this process will be authorized to travel to the United States and will be considered for parole, on a case-by-case basis, for a period of up to two years. 

Once paroled through this process, Ukrainians will be eligible for work authorization, the agency noted.

Thus, beginning Monday, April 25, U.S.-based individuals and entities can apply to DHS to sponsor Ukrainian citizens who have been displaced by Russia's aggression through "Unite for Ukraine," a process that will be launched that day on the site. DHS website. 

Any U.S. citizen or individual, including representatives of non-governmental organizations, may sponsor Ukrainian applicants. Individuals and organizations seeking to sponsor Ukrainian nationals in the country must declare financial support and pass security background checks to protect against exploitation and abuse. 

The Department of Homeland Security will administer the program. 

In addition to "Unite for Ukraine," the United States announced a series of measures designed to expand access to existing legal avenues for Ukrainian citizens. 

The State Department will expand U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) operations in Europe to provide eligible Ukrainians with greater access to the refugee resettlement process under the Lautenberg program, while expanding referral mechanisms for permanent resettlement. 

To do so, the United States is working with European partners, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and NGOs to identify particularly vulnerable Ukrainian nationals and others fleeing the conflict who may warrant permanent resettlement through USRAP. 

These particularly vulnerable populations include women and girls, children, elderly people with special needs, members of ethnic and religious minority groups, LGBTQI+ people, people with disabilities, and medically fragile people.

In addition, European embassies and consulates are increasing, to the extent possible, the number of nonimmigrant visa appointments and ensuring that there is an expedited visa appointment program for individuals with humanitarian, medical or other extraordinary circumstances to obtain priority access. 

So far, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the war over Russia's invasion of Ukraine has displaced at least five million people, most of whom have migrated to other European countries.

You may be interested in: Humanitarian crisis in Eastern Europe due to Russia's war against Ukraine

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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