Utica has seen the arrival of around 50 Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion began earlier this year. And while the presence of friends, family, and a strong Ukrainian community has created a welcoming new home, the nuances of immigration policies have presented a few logistical complications.
Due to their status as “humanitarian parolees” rather than “refugees,” Ukrainian arrivals need additional documentation to work—and are also not eligible for federal funds allocated to refugee cases, noted The Center’s executive director Shelly Callahan. Sponsorship has instead come from individuals, “faith-based organizations,” or “resettlement centers,” she explained. The Community Foundation, based in Utica, has established a fund to this end.
The humanitarian parolee designation is temporary, with recipients required to either return home or “adjust their immigration status” after two years, Callahan added. Considering the duration and severity of the war, however, she expressed some doubt that returning to Ukraine this soon will be a viable option. But regardless of exactly how events develop, it is certain that The Center and the Utica community at large will remain as steadfast pillars of support for these new arrivals and their families.
Originally published on News Channel 2, 6/8/2022
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