Updated: May 31
Refugee Admissions Under the Trump Administration
As many can recall, former president Donald J. Trump deemed the United States’ refugee program as an unnecessary economic, cultural, and security threat that would drain our country of its resources and acted on that belief during his presidential term. Under the Trump administration, the limit of annual refugee admission into the United States was set at a record low of 15,000 allocations in the year 2021. As a result of having to meet these restrictions, as well as the residual effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic that took place under the Trump administration in 2020, numerous United States organizations were forced to layoff their personnel and close their offices.
Refugee Admissions Under the Biden Administration
Our current president Joe Biden has proposed a change in the processing policies of the United States’ refugee program in order to rectify the negative consequences that resulted from the previous presidential administration’s changes. The Biden administration recognized and is placing a humanitarian emphasis on the need to accept refugees from war-torn countries and, on October 1st of 2021, signed a new executive order that increased the previously established limit of annual refugee admission up to 125,000. Biden aims to rebuild the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by increasing the thoroughness of the special immigrant visa program’s reviews and decreasing any application delays to speed up the overall process.
Despite the new cap set by President Biden’s executive order, fewer than 9,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States during the first six months of 2022. Experts speculate that the reasoning for this is the border crisis and increased number of illegal crossings under the Biden administration. These occurrences have been overwhelming the federal immigrant processing system, and are diverting already limited federal resources away from processing refugees in war-torn countries who are in a much stronger need of resettlement. The refugee process can also be years-long. Resettlement is thus not reaching the numbers initially aimed for by the Biden administration and the executive order.
The United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)
The United States Refugee Admissions Program is designed to protect overseas individuals that are fleeing their homelands overseas because they have suffered, or risk suffering, fear of threat to life or persecution in their home country because of their race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, political views, religion, or other membership in a social group. Said individuals are admitted through the program for government funded resettlement assistance after they have registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of the country in which they intend to resettle. The UNHCR will determine whether or not an applicant qualifies as a refugee and then decide whether to relocate them in the new country permanently, or locally integrate them temporarily so that they can safely return to their home country again later on down the line. The United States Refugee Admissions Program can lead to permanent residence through asylum, but is a long process, visas, or just humanitarian parole (a temporary solution that is currently being offered to Ukrainian citizens).
In early March, the Biden Administration established the designation of “Temporary Protected Status for Ukranians” for 18 months for Ukranians in the United States who have resided here since the 1st of March of 2022. The Biden administration also announced the “Uniting for Ukraine,” a United States private sponsorship process for those still abroad, on April 21st of 2022 in response to the Russian invasion. Under “Uniting for Ukraine,” displaced Ukrainian refugees identified by U.S. citizens and groups willing to sponsor them will be admitted into the United States for temporary, two-year long “humanitarian parole” periods.
Just like Ireland, Great Britain, and Canada, President Biden has decided the United States will welcome up to 100,000 Ukranians into the country through this sponsorship program if they meet the following refugee eligibility requirements: (1) they were residents in Ukraine as of February 11, 2022, (2) they have a sponsor in the United States, (3) they have completed all vaccinations and public health requirements, and (4) they pass all of the rigorous biometric, biographic screening, and vetting security checks. If a Ukrainian refugee has met the eligibility requirements and their parole process is completed, they will also be eligible for work authorization in the United States.
Unlike the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), humanitarian parole alone will not provide Ukrainian refugees with a permanent and long-term stay in the United States that can lead to permanent U.S. Citizenship. However, it does allow them the opportunity to seek it through other imigration programs and options.
If you are seeking or have already begun to seek refugee status to come to the United States, please contact MK Legal Group. MK Legal Group’s extensive experience with helping refugees file for humanitarian parole and profound knowledge of the United States’ immigration law and policies is here to help. Our legal skills and expertise will help you with the application for the parole process as either a sponsor or refugee. We will fight to help you and/or your family seek asylum in the United States. Contact us online, or call us at 1(855)658-2545 to schedule a consultation regarding your case.