US extends humanitarian permits for Ukrainians entering through Mexico

by Ted Hesson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will allow Ukrainians who entered the region through the Mexican border last year to renew their humanitarian residence permits, which would allow them to continue receiving social benefits such as health insurance and food stamps .

The extension is a victory for human rights advocates, who have urged US President Joe Biden’s administration to expand legal avenues for thousands of migrants who have been allowed to enter the country in recent years on temporary emergency grounds.

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Monday that some 25,000 Ukrainians who sought asylum in the United States via Mexico in early 2022 could now extend their stay. Initially he was given a permit for one year.

Under pressure, Joe Biden launched a “Uniting for Ukraine” program in April 2022 to allow US-sponsored Ukrainians air access and discourage border crossings.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 118,000 Ukrainians have come to the United States under the program on “humanitarian parole” granted for two years, which will not expire until 2024 or later.

Rights advocates hope to secure a similar expansion for the roughly 77,000 Afghans arriving in the United States in 2021 as part of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many Afghans could see their humanitarian parole expire later this year.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington; French version by Kate Enstringer)

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