Senator Warren & Colleagues Urge Biden Administration To Designate Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status

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In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office. She was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. She is a Democrat. (stock photo)

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WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, along with 35 Senators, called on President Biden to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Ukrainians currently in the United States.

The Senators are calling on President Biden to take all steps necessary to make sure Ukrainians in the United States are not forced to return to Ukraine, following Russia’s invasion last week.

“The Biden administration should immediately grant TPS to Ukrainians in the United States – it would be unacceptable to force these individuals back to a warzone caused by Russia’s unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine,” said Senator Warren. “The American people stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and my colleagues and I will do everything in our power to meet the humanitarian needs caused by this senseless conflict.”

TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from deportation and access to a work permit for foreign nationals from certain countries currently in the United States who are unable to return safely to their home country due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions. The President has full discretion to grant, deny, withdraw, or terminate TPS for nationals of designated countries. 

On February 24, Ukraine declared a state of emergency and closed its airspace to commercial flights after Russia launched a series of unprovoked military strikes against major Ukrainian cities with forces attacking by land, sea, and air. Russian forces have employed hundreds of missiles against military and civilian targets across Ukraine in clear violation of international law, and troops continue to push to overtake major cities, including Kyiv.

United Nations officials reported that over 500 civilians have been killed so far since the Russian invasion began. The United States has closed its embassy in Kyiv and all embassy personnel and their family members have left Ukraine in recent weeks.

The senators noted that this temporary designation of TPS would not affect a person’s permanent immigration status and would only impact a limited number of Ukrainians in the United States – 29,510 nonimmigrant visas were issued to Ukrainian nationals in Fiscal Year 2020. The senators argued that forcing Ukrainians in the United States back to a warzone would be inconsistent with American values and national security interests, and urged President Biden to designate Ukraine for TPS immediately. 

Senator Warren has led ongoing efforts to call out Russia’s unjustifiable aggression, protect the TPS status of people in need, and use the immigration system to hold the United States accountable to its humanitarian obligations. 

Read the Letter here.

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