National Security

After More Than A Month-Long Delay, DHS Finalizes Ukraine Refugee Rule

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formalized a rule Tuesday granting Ukrainian refugees Temporary Protected Status, more than a month after Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced it.

Mayorkas first announced that Ukrainian refugees would be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) March 3, with President Joe Biden adding that refugees would be accepted “with open arms.” More than 4.6 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24. More than half have remained in neighboring countries, such as Poland. (RELATED: Biden Admin Will Welcome Up To 100,000 Refugees Fleeing Russian Aggression In Ukraine)

Individuals become eligible for TPS when their countries of origin face “ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.” Ukrainian refugees who have “continually resided in the U.S.” from April 11 will be protected from deportation under TPS until Oct. 19, 2023. More than 59,000 Ukrainians are eligible for TPS, according to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services.

Residents of thirteen countries are currently eligible for TPS. Those countries include Haiti, Somalia and Venezuela.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement suspended deportation proceedings and flights for citizens of Ukraine, Russia and seven other Eastern European countries in early March.

Despite Mayorkas’ announcement March 3, DHS did not finalize the admissions process for more than a month. During that time, more than 5,000 Ukrainian refugees presented themselves at various ports of entry, according to Customs and Border Protection.

TIJUANA, MEXICO – MARCH 22: A Ukrainian family who fled Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 24th wait with their luggage before being allowed to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry into the United States to seek asylum on March 22, 2022 in Tijuana, Mexico. U.S. authorities have recently been allowing Ukrainian refugees to enter the U.S. at the Southern border in Tijuana with permission to remain in the U.S. on humanitarian parole for one year. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A spokesman for USCIS told the Daily Caller that the delay between the TPS announcement and a formal rule is part of a common practice.

“DHS often announces TPS designations prior to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services publishing a Federal Register Notice (FRN) to allow eligible individuals time to obtain the necessary forms, evidence, fees, or fee waiver requests to file their applications. This also offers assurances to individuals currently in the United States that they will not be returned home to a country experiencing unsafe conditions,” the spokesman said.