The number of borders increases in March, with a surprising increase in Ukrainians

The number of borders increases in March, with a surprising increase in Ukrainians

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US immigration officials arrest more than 5,000 people Immigrants from Ukraine along the country’s land, sea and air borders increased significantly in March among those seeking refuge at the U.S.-Mexico border, which contributed to a record influx of new arrivals from the Latin America and the Caribbean this year, according to US customs data. And border protection data was released on Monday.

The number, which was less than 1,150 last month, marks the first official census of Ukrainians who have fled to ports and borders since the Russian invasion began on February 24. They are part of a group of over 220,000 inmates on the southwestern border. As of March, the highest monthly total since 2000.

Most, if not most, Ukrainians were released in the United States on probation on humanitarian grounds, allowing people to stay temporarily. And although current numbers aren’t available, they continued to arrive this month. The Biden administration responded to the influx on Monday by announcing that it will expand the right to “temporary protection status” which would allow Ukrainians to stay here for 18 months and apply for work permits if they arrive before April 11.

New immigrants on the US-Mexico border: Ukrainian refugees

Previously, if Ukrainians had been here before March 1, they could have asked for protection, but that would have led to thousands of people crossing the border in recent weeks. Federal officials estimate 59,600 Ukrainians are eligible to apply, which is lower than previous estimates.

“This ongoing armed conflict poses a serious threat to the safety of citizens returning to Ukraine,” officials said in a statement to the Federal Registry on Tuesday. “Extraordinary and temporary conditions, such as destroyed infrastructure, scarce resources and lack of access to health care, prevent the safe return of Ukrainian citizens to their homeland.

The United Nations says 4.9 million people have fled to Ukraine, mostly to neighboring countries. This is the fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II. “

Describing Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine as “genocide”, President Biden has promised 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, but the White House has not yet provided them with a direct route to the country. Thousands of people realize this after reading to friends and family and seeing videos of lawyers advising on social media. Some come with tourist visas; Others take flights to Mexico, turn over their passports at border posts and ask for admission.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said this month that the administration is preparing. “Accelerated process” War refugees have been admitted and are awaiting details, she said. Refugees fleeing war are likely to arrive in various ways, including through the usual US refugee program, which offers permanent residency but can take months or years, US officials said. A faster way to complete and save.

Michael Levitis, a 45-year-old Moscow-born radio host based in New York, said people flocked to the border because the Biden administration did not specify how they would enter the United States. the fastest ways. To enter.

“The main reason is just the confusion,” Levitt said in an interview. “There are no clear instructions on how to reach the United States for Ukrainian refugees, so they go to Mexico out of desperation as it allows people with Ukrainian passports to enter Mexico.

The number of Ukrainians admitted under the ordinary refugee program fell from 427 in February to 12 in March.

In February, only 272 Ukrainians applied to cross the southwestern border, but last month the number rose to over 3,200, with most Ukrainians accepting it last month.

In the first six months of this fiscal year, which began in October, CBP met in the air, land and sea ports of over 10,600 Ukrainian countries, while in fiscal year 2021 there were more than 9,300.

The CBP monthly report includes statistics on migrants attempting to pass through legal ports and on arriving at legal ports of entry asking for permission to enter the country.

Lawmakers and advocacy groups have called on the Biden administration to accept the Ukrainians more quickly and give them clearer direction. Levitt said his family arrived in 1988 as part of a special program for Soviet Jews and urged Biden in March to draw up similar guidelines for war refugees.

There were no updates to the White House refugee admission plan on Friday, but Biden recalled Ukraine in his Easter message, saying, “We care about the Ukrainian people and their world, whose heroic stance against bullying. inspired everyone. “

Ukrainians are part of a much larger influx of migrants arriving at the southwestern border: the agency said it detained 221,303 people at the southwest border last month, up 33 percent from 165,894 in February. More migrants are expected after May 23, when US authorities finalized the Health Pandemic Order known as Title 42, which has led to the mass deportation of most immigrants over the past two years.

An immigration official told a federal judge in court this month that authorities are now preparing to consider an asylum application and deport those who have no legal basis to stay but are preparing for a “historic frontier.” “.

The number of occupants on the southern border exceeded 1.73 million in fiscal year 2021 and is expected to break the record this year.

Republicans and some Democrats have urged Biden to continue an expulsion policy, as midterm elections to Congress threaten to control Democrats in the House and Senate.

Lawyers in 21 states filed a federal lawsuit in Louisiana to prevent the administration from completing Section 42, describing its repeal as an “early, man-made, self-inflicted disaster” that “would eliminate the single safety valve that protects. this administration from disaster. ” “Border policy will turn into relentless chaos and disaster.

Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mallorca and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will travel this week to Panama, a country that has become more and more beachheads to discuss immigration management and problem solving for immigrants from South America to the Mexico and the United States. . The “main causes” of hunger, poverty and social instability that push people to the north.

Lawyers have lobbied authorities to help immigrants, both newcomers and the nearly 11 million free immigrants who have lived in the United States for many years.

The municipality responded to these requests on Friday by providing temporary protection for 18 months from their deportation to 11,700 migrants from Cameroon amid the ongoing armed conflict between the government and separatist groups and a “significant increase” in violent attacks by the extremist group. . Boko Haram. To qualify, effective April 14, immigrants must be currently resident in the United States, pay an entry fee, and pass a historical check.

This designation adds Cameroon to its growing list of countries for the first time: Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine – The Ministry of Internal Security has declared its right to temporary protection status.

Nick Miroff contributed to this report.

Source: Washington Post