UKRAINIAN SPONSORSHIP UPDATE

The firm wants to provide all who are interested in sponsoring someone
from Ukraine with an update on Ukraine arrivals with the information we have as of today, Monday, May 2, 2022. (Note the date because this information could change either by federal government updates or changes made by Congress.)
As you may know, the President recently announced that up to 100,000
Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression may be coming to the United
States. The federal government has indicated that it will be using multiple
immigration methods for Ukrainians to enter the U.S. including the family-based immigrant visa process, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and
Humanitarian Parole. Many Ukrainians indicate a desire to return to their country and may therefore be interested in a temporary option for placement in the
U.S. Although the individuals fleeing Ukraine are refugees by definition, they are not necessarily going to be entering the U.S with the immigration status of a
refugee. This is an important distinction.
The federal government has acknowledged that the USRAP process could take at least 18-24 months to complete and is considered a permanent durable
solution. The US State Department has indicated that they are increasing USRAP processing in Europe for those seeking permanent solutions, especially those with particular concern for safety and removal (e.g.-medically fragile or
unaccompanied minors). Pending cases and ongoing processing for individuals
seeking refugee resettlement under the lautenberg amendment will continue as normal. Michigan has not traditionally been a large resettlement site for
Ukrainian refugees but has a relatively small refugee community in northern
Michigan.
As an additional effort in this response, on April 25th, the federal
government announced a new program called “Uniting for Ukraine.” This
program utilizes Humanitarian Parole along with U.S.-based sponsors to bring
Ukrainians to the U.S for temporary placement. Ukrainians will apply via a US
sponsor, who can be anyone lawfully in the US (Green Card holders and other
immigration statuses included). Sponsors can be family, friend, educational
institution, or religious or other civic group. Once approved, Ukrainians will

arrange their own travel and states will not be notified of Ukrainians entering under Humanitarian Parole. (Note this is different than the Afghan Humanitarian Parole where states were notified by the federal government about arrivals.)
Although the immigration status of Humanitarian Parole is the same that was used for recent Afghan arrivals under Operations Allies Welcome – the resources are vastly different. Pursuant to support from Congress, the Afghan arrivals had access to benefits similar to what our “traditional” refugee arrivals receive and the Afghan arrivals were resettled in states using the refugee resettlement infrastructure. As of now, that will not be true for individuals coming to the U.S. from Ukraine under “Uniting for Ukraine.”
According to the federal government, U.S.-based sponsors must complete a Declaration of Financial Support (Form 1-134) to affirm responsibility for an individual or family from Ukraine. Congress has not (to date) provided resources for Ukrainians to be able to access public benefits. Therefore, the sponsor is responsible for covering all financial needs including, but not limited to, medical care and housing. According to federal partners, those arriving under this program should be eligible to apply for federal marketplace insurance coverage, but sponsors should be aware they would ultimately be responsible to cover the cost of the insurance and the medical care. (Individuals with Humanitarian Parole may be eligible for Emergency Services Only Medicaid in life-threatening instances as well as the MOMS program.) As of now, organizations and/or programs that rely on federal funding for refugee resettlement will not be accessible to Ukrainians entering with Humanitarian Parole.
Michigan has very limited benefits available to individuals who hold the status of Humanitarian Parole. For example, children under the age of 18 or individuals with a qualifying disability may be eligible for food assistance within the state of Michigan dependent on the terms of their immigration documents and length of humanitarian parole approval. Also, children may be eligible for the Child Development and Care Program. The Uniting for Ukraine program does allow for Ukrainians to apply for employment authorization after they have entered the U.S. with Humanitarian Parole. Once they have received their employment authorization card (“EAD card”), Ukrainians may be eligible for some workforce services through a local Michigan Works Agency.

As Ukrainians will likely be entering Michigan under multiple statuses, partners should be diligent in determining status for eligibility of programs and services and seek clarification when needed. Even though an individual from Ukraine holding Humanitarian Parole may be eligible for a benefit or program, there must be an understanding of whether that benefit or program conflicts with the sponsor’s Declaration of Financial Support. Therefore, individuals and sponsors will need to be aware of the federal public charge rules so, if needed, sponsors could contact immigration legal counsel to seek advice. Our office does not have immigration attorneys on staff, so we are unable to provide legal guidance about public charge or the sponsor’s requirements under the Declaration of Financial Support.
Finally, the federal government has indicated that sponsors will have to have knowledge of the individual/family from Ukraine for whom they want to provide sponsorship. Our national partner at Welcome.US has said that they will have information on their website for sponsors who may want to be matched with an individual or family from Ukraine.
For full details about the federal government program, please visit Uniting for Ukraine I Homeland Security (dhs.gov).
In the meantime, here are some resources that may be helpful:
Declaration of Financial Support I USCIS– Form 1-134, Declaration of Financial Support and instructions for the form.
VVelcome.US – a national non-profit with information about how to get involved to support individuals or families from Ukraine.
Explainer: Private Sponsorship Programs for Refugees – National Immigration Forum – an overview of various sponsorship models for refugees and those with humanitarian status (similar to individual coming from Afghanistan or Ukraine).