March 10, 2022. Updated March 11, 2022.
International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA) is closely following the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. We understand that many in the Greater Los Angeles area are also watching the deeply distressing events with great concern for displaced individuals and are looking for ways to help.
At this time, we are not expecting a large number of Ukrainians to come to the United States, as the European Union has taken the lead on accepting refugees and the US is not conducting large-scale evacuations. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the US would accept Ukrainian refugees, but currently most refugees apparently want to stay in Europe. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the current priority is “to support the countries that are bearing the immediate burden of taking in Ukrainians. And then, as appropriate, if people seek refugee status in the United States, of course we will look at that and I’m sure act on that.”
As of March 7, more than 2 million refugees have already fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That number is expected to increase as the conflict continues.
While it is still too early to know the full global impact of this humanitarian crisis, IILA is standing by and awaiting guidance from our partners at the federal level, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). As a result of IILA’s Act Now for Afghan Allies campaign, launched after the fall of Kabul in August 2021, IILA has built a strong network of local volunteers, community groups, and donors who are also standing by and ready to help refugees however they can.
In the meantime, USCRI has addressed common questions for Ukrainian nationals in the US, those with family in Ukraine, and Ukrainians fleeing Ukraine into a nearby country.
Temporary Protected Status: On March 3, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainian nationals in the US, based on the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent its nationals from returning safely. Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the US since March 1, 2022. Individuals who are beneficiaries of TPS can apply for employment authorization, and are not removable from the United States for 18 months. TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. IILA’s Immigration Legal Services Division is available to assist with applications for TPS.
“IILA was founded in 1914 to serve immigrants and refugees, and we have proudly continued that work for the past century. We continue to do our utmost to serve refugees and asylees arriving in Southern California from countries around the world. Our hearts go out to all those suffering from war, violence, persecution and oppression, especially our Ukrainian sisters and brothers,” said IILA President and CEO Cambria Tortorelli.
For press inquiries, please contact:
Alex T. Nguyen, MPA
International Institute of Los Angeles