DHS: Most Ukrainian Refugees Aren’t Using Biden’s Programs to Enter US

DHS: Most Ukrainian Refugees Aren't Using Biden's Programs to Enter US signs indicate an area designated for Ukrainian refugees Signs indicate an area designated for Ukrainian refugees upon arrival at the Tijuana airport, where they are met by volunteers to assist them in their journey to the U.S. after fleeing the war in Ukraine, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, April 8. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Friday, 24 June 2022 08:45 AM

More than 71,000 people from Ukraine have arrived in the United States since President Joe Biden's announcement in March that the United States would welcome as many as 100,000 into the country, but most of the refugees did not come in through the programs the White House put in place.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, most of the Ukrainians who came into the United States entered the country by using visas they had before the war with Russia started, or by crossing into the country over the U.S.-Mexico border, not the Biden Administration's Uniting for Ukraine web portal set up to allow Americans to sponsor Ukrainians, reports NBC News.

After the web portal launched, however, Ukrainians trying to cross the southern border were largely stopped because of Title 42, the COVID public health order put in place by former President Donald Trump.

Before the web portal, however, more than 22,000 Ukrainians crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

More than 15,000 Ukrainians have come into the United States after they were approved for sponsorship online, the DHS said, and another 23,000 are approved but have not come to the United States yet. People who are approved must make their own travel arrangements, according to the government's rules.

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, accused the administration of overstating the numbers of immigrants the United States has welcomed, as only 15,000 have used the government's system, and said the others who have entered should not count toward Biden's 100,000 refugee limit.

Just 300 Ukrainians have been resettled through the federally-funded U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and while Biden had promised to revamp the program after cuts were made under the Trump administration, the administration instead has been using emergency humanitarian prole powers that allowed Afghans and Ukrainians to come to the United States.