The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden will grant temporary deportation relief and work permits to tens of thousands of Ukrainians who are already in the United States but unable to return to Ukraine because of the military conflict with Russia, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Thursday.
The move will allow Ukrainians in the United States as of March 1 to remain and work legally for 18 months, DHS said.
Ukrainians will be granted relief under a program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The program gives immigrants who cannot return to their countries safely because of extraordinary circumstances such as violent conflict or natural disasters the ability to stay and work in the United States legally for a defined period of time.
"Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war" that has forced Ukrainians to seek refuge in other countries, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a written statement.
Earlier Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that it had paused deportation flights to Ukraine because of the "ongoing humanitarian crisis."
More than 1 million Ukrainians have fled and started to arrive in neighboring central European countries since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Moscow calls a "special military operation."