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US to Streamline Admittance of Ukrainian Refugees

Ukrainians who fled to Mexico amid Russia's invasion of their homeland, walk with their belongings to cross the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry of the U.S.-Mexico border, in Tijuana, Mexico, April 2, 2022

More Ukrainian refugees will be allowed to come to the United States under a new plan announced by the Biden administration Thursday.

So far, many Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia and trying to come to the U.S. have tried via the border with Mexico, but the new plan will make that route more difficult while streamlining applications.

Some 3,300 Ukrainians have sought refuge via the southern border in March, the Reuters news agency reported.

The U.S. is expecting up to about 100,000 refugees, with 15,000 already in the country since the war started February 24.

“We are proud to deliver on President [Joe] Biden's commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression to the United States," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement announcing the effort.

"The Ukrainian people continue to suffer immense tragedy and loss as a result of Putin's unprovoked and unjustified attack on their country," he added, referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. says more Ukrainian refugees want to remain close to Ukraine because they hope to return one day.

To qualify under the new “Uniting for Ukraine” program, which starts next week, applicants must have been in Ukraine as of February 11, have a family sponsor, be vaccinated and pass a background check.

If allowed to enter, refugees will be allowed to stay for up to two years. They will not be on a path toward citizenship.

Some 5 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the war started.

Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters.