According to recent estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as many as 3.6 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the start of the Russian invasion. This has caused the fastest-moving and one of the largest refugee crises since the end of World War II.
Poland currently hosts the most Ukrainian refugees with around 2.17 million entering the country since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Romania is far second with over 500,000 refugees followed by Moldova and Hungary with more than 300,000 refugees each. Slovakia has taken in over 265,000 refugees.
The U.S. has already provided hundreds of millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid funding for Ukrainian refugees.
Since Feb. 24, the U.S. has given nations near Ukraine over $123 million to host refugees. This includes $48 million granted to Poland, $30 million to Moldova, $10 million to Romania, $9 million to Hungary and $4 million to Slovakia.
In addition to this, President Joe Biden has also recently announced that he is committing his administration to provide an additional $1 billion in humanitarian assistance "to help get relief to the millions of Ukrainians affected by the war," he said.
"And we will invest $320 million to bolster democratic resilience and defend human rights in Ukraine and neighboring countries."
"While we expect many Ukrainians will choose to remain in Europe close to family and their homes in Ukraine, today, the United States is announcing plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia's aggression through the full range of legal pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program," said a fact sheet published by the White House on Thursday, March 24. (Related: UK government now wants Britons to house non-Ukrainian refugees.)
The decision comes weeks after U.S. lawmakers and advocates began urging Biden to do more to help Ukrainians displaced by the invasion.
In the first two weeks of March, just seven Ukrainian refugees were resettled in the U.S., according to internal data from the Department of State.
As part of the expanded effort to allow Ukrainian refugees into the country, the White House said they may enter through existing visa avenues and through "humanitarian parole" programs. These allow people into the country on an emergency basis.
The White House added that it is prioritizing bringing in Ukrainians who already have family members in the United States. For these people, the White House will seek to speed up the processing of their refugee applications by granting them family-based visas for permanent residency.
The 100,000 Ukrainian refugees will join the more than 350,000 Ukrainian immigrants already living in the United States.
Before the Russian invasion, Biden already committed his administration to resettle 125,000 refugees in the U.S. for the fiscal year that began in Oct. 2021. As of press time, only around 6,500 refugees have been admitted into the country.
Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute, welcomed the White House's commitment to accept more Ukrainian refugees but said that "there are a lot of questions" regarding the Biden administration's ability to quickly help.
Gelatt warned that the sudden influx of Ukrainians who want to resettle in the U.S. will only add to the massive backlog of hundreds of thousands of unprocessed visa applications.
Ukrainians may be given a chance to skip this long line through the humanitarian parole program. But even then, they will still have a long wait ahead of them.
Furthermore, the humanitarian parole program might seem undesirable for Ukrainians who want to reside in the U.S. permanently as it does not provide them with permanent residency status.
Learn more about the state of the war in Ukraine by reading articles at WWIII.news.
Watch this episode of LifeSiteNews TV as executive Jim Hale talks to Jason Jones of the Vulnerable People Project about how Catholic aid workers in Ukraine are being attacked for delivering food and supplies to displaced peoples.