Urge Protections for Ukrainian Refugees

Sign Up HERE as Disciples to indicate interest in welcoming Ukrainian refugees!

Learn here from RIM about the U.S. “Uniting for Ukraine” Program, Announced 4/21

LIFT YOUR VOICE in this latest ALERT to Stand with Vulnerable Ukrainians, Protect Refugees & Rebuild the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program!

See RIM WRAP information HERE & HERE

Watch & Pray this INTERFAITH PRAYERS FOR UKRAINE program with CWS, Disciples’ RIM Director, & Ukrainian leaders!

(April 16) In news that broke during Holy Week, the Biden administration is planning to establish a humanitarian parole program to expedite welcoming displaced Ukrainians with U.S. ties. Humanitarian parole is being suggested as the primary pathway the US government would utilize to honor Biden’s commitment to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians.  It is expected that, under this program, individuals would require sponsorship by someone in the US in order to come to the country.

While advocates celebrate any protections offered, it is important to note that Humanitarian Parole is only temporary (lasting only 1-2 years), and does not allow access to full and potentially permanent protections available through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.  Humanitarian parole alone is not sufficient to address Ukrainian displacement, nor does it support the needed rebuilding of resettlement or asylum. It also provides a pathway only to individuals who have the resources or US ties to avail themselves of it.  Lift your voice to raise these concerns through this latest alert.

The administration must maximize the use of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and other immigrant pathways to provide sustainable protection for at-risk individuals and families. These pathways should be made immediately available to Ukrainians and other third country nationals, like African refugees, displaced by the Russian aggression and violence.  With more than 4.7 million refugees who have fled Ukraine since February 24th, such approaches could further help us live out our promise to protect vulnerable Ukrainians, and third country nationals, like African refugees, who have been displaced to Ukraine, and all refugees seeking safety in the United States.

The Administration had first announced its commitment to receive up to 100,000 most vulnerable Ukrainian refugees; especially journalists, activists, refugees with particular health concerns or family members in the U.S., and LGBTQ+ individuals at risk on March 24.  Unlike recent Afghan arrivals, they are not anticipated to arrive all at once, or even necessarily all in this fiscal year (which ends September 30, 2022.)

U.S. resettlements are part of the nation’s coordinated humanitarian assistance to respond to suffering of Ukrainian civilians and to growing flows of refugees escaping war in Ukraine. Most fleeing refugees are in Poland, Moldova, and Romania.  Ukrainians resettling in the U.S. are especially likely to settle near existing Ukrainian populations in the New York, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Northern California regions.

On March 3, the U.S. likewise announced Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) would provide temporary legal status & work authorization to eligible Ukrainians already in the U.S.  Eligible community members are particularly populous in locations such as IL, MI, CA, & NY. On March 15, the Omnibus bill was passed by Congress and signed into law, providing $13.6 billion in new aid for Ukraine, and likewise reauthorizing the Lautenberg Amendment; a family reunification program which allows certain individuals legally residing in the United States to bring their family members who have been persecuted as religious minorities to the U.S.  To access the program, qualified family members in the U.S. must apply through a resettlement agency.

Immigrants of Ukrainian descent have long been neighbors in the U.S. & Canada. With over 1.3 million persons of Ukrainian origin in Canada, it has the third highest numbers of Ukrainians in the world behind Ukraine and Russia. The first Ukrainian to America sailed with John Smith to Jamestown in 1607, with large scale Ukrainian migration to the US beginning in the 1880’s. The highest numbers of refugees–especially persecuted Christians and Jews–entered the U.S. in the 1990’s. Ukrainian refugees to the US continue to contribute faith and employment skills throughout the country, and are grieving the onset of war in the Ukraine, particularly in areas such as New YorkWashington state, and Sacramento & Fresno, CA.

How Can Disciples Support Ukrainian Refugees?

  • Sign Up HERE to indicate interest in welcoming Ukrainian refugees.
  • See and Share HERE this Ukrainian support Faith Leader Letter
  • Contact Your Congressional Leaders HERE to urge they stand with vulnerable Ukrainians & protect at-risk populations
  • Read THIS White House Press Briefing announcing resettlements, as well as other forms of U.S. assistance for Ukraine.
  • Learn More HERE about TPS granted for Ukrainians on March 4, and various pathways being offered to help welcome Ukrainian refugees into the U.S.
  • Reach out to: sstanley@dhm.disciples.org to meet with, speak, preach, and nurture your congregation’s involvement in refugee resettlement in your area!
  • REGISTER to attend the National Virtual Refugee Advocacy Days!!
Prayers & Resources to Support Fleeing & Grieving Ukrainians
Unite your hearts with faithful Ukrainian neighbors–& with Ukrainians now fearing displacement from their homeland–as you share resources & take actions below:
  • Share this UNHCR/UN Refugee Agency information if you know Ukrainians urgently seeking help to escape.
  • Pray with Rev. Terri Hord Owens & Faith Partners in this “Interfaith Call to Peace for Ukraine.”
  • Read this Poem, “Birdsong in Kharkiv” by Disciples Regional Minister, Rev. Bill Rose Heim.
  • Watch Ukrainian Christians Sing & Pray in Kyiv at the start of the war, & offer your prayers with theirs.
  • Sing this Hymn for Peace in the Ukraine, “We Pray for Peace” by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, to the tune of “Be Still My Soul.”
  • EMail the Administration to urge Ukrainians already in the US be protected by Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to avoid returns to unsafe conditions, and grant Special Student Relief (SSR) for eligible students from the Ukraine.
  • EMail Congress to Respond with Strongest Humanitarian Support to help Ukrainians in Europe and continue to rebuild the US Refugee Program.
  • If in Canada, Take These Actions to support Ukrainians through Immigration, Refugees, & Citizenship Canada.
  • Go here for a Resource Roundup of additional ways to learn and help.