Biden Administration Extends Temporary Protected Status for Ukrainians in the United States

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This measure will enable Ukrainians in the US to live and work here legally until April 19, 2025. It’s a step in the right direction, but Congress still needs to pass an adjustment act giving them permanent residency.

Ilya Somin |

Today, the Biden Administration extended and redesignated Temporary Protected Status for Ukrainians in the United States who arrived here by August 16, 2023. TPS gives a foreign citizen the right to live and work in the US for a set period of time. The status is generally used for people whose home countries are in the throes of war, oppression, or a natural disaster.

In plain English, that means that the thousands of Ukrainians  (the administration estimates their numbers at about 26,000) who currently have TPS in the US will be eligible for an extension through April 19, 2025. Otherwise, their status will run out on Oct. 19. Ukrainians currently in the US who do not have TPS, will be able to apply to get the status. That’s important for the 140,000 or more who entered under the Uniting for Ukraine private sponsorship program, and whose residency rights (granted by parole) will otherwise run out in 2024 or early 2025 (including my own sponsorees). DHS estimates the total number of Ukrainians now eligible to get TPS status, despite not having it previously at 166,700.

However, the grant of TPS status may extend their residency or work rights only a few months past when they would have expired otherwise. It’s possible that the president will address this problem by giving Ukrainian parolees a chance to apply for a two year extension of their parole status, as has already been done with Afghan parole recipients in a similar situation.

While this is a useful step, it is not a substitute for giving Ukrainians (and others in similar straits) permanent residency rights. Congress still needs to pass an adjustment act to do that; I outlined the case for doing so here.

The extension will in time expire. Moreover, what Caesar giveth he can taketh way (or his successor can). So this isn’t the end of this issue. But it’s an improvement, and it also gives more time for Congress to (hopefully) act.

For those on the watch for signs of ethnic bias or inconsistency, I remind readers that I am well aware that Ukrainians are not the only ones who need an adjustment act granting permanent status. I have repeatedly advocated taking the same step for other immigrant groups in similar situations, most recently in a post on the Afghan Adjustment Act.

Today, the Administration also extended and redesignated TPS for Sudanese in the United States (a total of about 4000 people are affected). Like Ukraine, Sudan has been wracked by a terrible war, and accompanying atrocities.

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