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Jewish groups ask Homeland Security to re-parole Ukrainian refugees

The legal status of some 20,000 Ukrainians in the United States is in jeopardy.

Ukrainian refugees. Credit: Avishag Yashuv/IFCJ.
Ukrainian refugees. Credit: Avishag Yashuv/IFCJ.

Some 20,000 Ukrainians who came to the United States as refugees are slated to have their paroles expire in March and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has yet to extend their temporary status beyond one year.

“We now urgently request that you update key policies to address the challenges facing some Ukrainian humanitarian parolees residing in the U.S.,” the Jewish Federations of North America, HIAS and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies wrote to Alejandro Mayorkas, homeland security secretary.

“Our agencies and affiliates have expressed concerns that the issue hasn’t yet been resolved, especially since parole is so close to lapsing for so many Ukrainians,” Alisa Bodner, press relations manager at the Jewish Federations of North America, told JNS. “That being said, the department has been responsive and we are hopeful that the issue will be addressed in a timely manner.”

In the letter, the three organizations asked the department to establish a clear, timely and automatic re-parole process. “Individuals with parole live in fear of their status expiring, but they do not know what the correct process is when they receive conflicting information,” the organizations wrote.

They also asked that the department automatically extend work authorizations and eligibility for benefits and extend temporary protected status for Ukraine, set to expire on Oct. 19.

“The American Jewish community has a long history of successfully resettling and supporting refugees,” the organizations wrote. “As many Jewish Americans have Ukrainian ancestry, our community has been directly affected by the Ukraine crisis.”

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