U.S. Will Admit 100,000 Refugees Fleeing Ukraine, White House Says
Biden administration officials say they are looking at a range of legal pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
Ukrainians waited for a bus this week in Lviv, Ukraine, after fleeing their home towns that were under Russian military attack.PHOTO: JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES
By Catherine Lucey and Laurence Norman Wall Street Journal
Updated March 24, 2022 10:24 am ET
The U.S. will accept up to 100,000 refugees fleeing the fighting in Ukraine as the humanitarian crisis from Russia’s attack on its neighbor worsens, administration officials said Thursday.
More than 10 million people in Ukraine have been uprooted by the fighting, the United Nations estimates. More than 3.6 million of them have fled the country, the U.N. says, most bound for Poland.
A senior administration official said Thursday more details would come, but officials are looking at a range of legal pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. President Biden was in Brussels on Thursday for meetings with NATO leaders and allies over how to respond to Russia’s aggression.
The official said the administration is “working in particular to expand and develop new programs with a focus on welcoming Ukrainians who have family members in the United States.” The official added that the U.S. is “committed to protecting the most vulnerable among the refugee populations that have already fled,” such as gay and transgender individuals, those with medical needs, and dissidents.
Ukraine Hits Russia-Occupied Port; Biden, Allies to Add Pressure on PutinPlay video: Ukraine Hits Russia-Occupied Port; Biden, Allies to Add Pressure on Putin
Ukraine targeted a port facility used by Russian forces, hitting a naval ship; Biden meets world leaders in Brussels to discuss next steps with Russia; the Ukrainian president called for global rallies to mark one month of war. Photo: Associated Press
The European Union has admitted around 3.5 million Ukrainian refugees since the war began, with the bloc permitting people fleeing the war to come without a visa and with the right to work for two years.
The bloc has also rolled out core services for the people arriving, providing them with food, shelter and education. Ireland, which is outside the bloc’s visa-free travel zone, is waiving visas for Ukrainians. Britain, which is no longer in the EU, is now permitting Ukrainians to come provided they have a sponsor.
The government in Poland, where 2.2 million people have arrived, has been appealing for international help, particularly from the U.S. and U.K. Unlike the 2015 refugee crisis—when people escaping wars in Syria and Libya mainly went to the continent’s wealthiest nations, like Germany—Ukrainians have been generally settling in Central European states like Poland and Slovakia. Both nations speak a language that is similar to Ukrainian, share cultural ties and centuries of history, and their labor markets have been tight.
Earlier this month, Polish President Andrzej Duda pressed visiting Vice President Kamala Harris during an hourlong meeting in Warsaw to expedite U.S. visas for Ukrainians in Poland hoping to join family members in the U.S. Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do the same thing, during a separate meeting in the Polish capital.
“This is a test of us: Putin wanted to weaken us, to divide us, this is his tactic, to destabilize countries with refugees,” said Mr. Trzaskowski in an interview. “We all know it… this is not going to be just for a week or two.”