The Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday that it was granting temporary protected status to Ukrainians in the United States for 18 months.
Anyone applying for the status, which will allow them to remain in the country, for now, must have been living in the U.S. by March 1, 2022. Ukrainians who traveled to the country after that date are not eligible, DHS said.
“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”
The move comes after a growing number of members of Congress, from both parties, and immigration advocates called on the Biden administration to take the action. Thursday marks a week since Russia began waging war on Ukraine, and world leaders are warning of Russian soldiers targeting Ukrainian civilians.
TPS status is designated when a country is facing “ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions,” DHS said Thursday. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prevented Ukrainians from returning safely to their country, the department said.
“This invasion has caused a humanitarian crisis with significant numbers of individuals fleeing and damage to civilian infrastructure that has left many without electricity or water or access to food, basic supplies, shelter, and emergency medical services,” DHS said.
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