In April, the Biden administration launched the Uniting For Ukraine program, to provide a streamlined pathway to the U.S. for Ukrainians fleeing the war. It hinges on U.S.-based supporters who enroll, name a Ukrainian beneficiary, and undergo a background check and financial assessment to prove they can support bringing them to the country.

In the five months since the program’s launch, more than 60,000 Ukrainians have entered the U.S. for their temporary stay, with tens of thousands more being set to arrive in the coming months. Backing them are thousands of U.S. sponsors — more than 140,000 have registered (a sponsor can provide support for more than one beneficiary). 

There’s been very little analysis of who is stepping up to support Ukrainians, other than anecdotal reporting on sponsors and their beneficiaries across the country. However, Niskanen recently obtained Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Uniting for Ukraine sponsor data compiling the zip codes of all U.S. sponsors, which provides some additional background information about the communities that have mobilized around this initiative. 

Here are ten takeaways from the Uniting for Ukraine zip code sponsor data as of September 30, 2022:

  1. Compared to the national average, the top 25 sponsoring Congressional districts have a 219 percent higher share of residents of Ukrainian ancestry. 
  2. Forty-five percent of sponsors live outside the top 10 metro areas. 
  3. Sixty-eight percent of sponsors are represented by House Democrats and 30 percent by House Republicans.
  4. Three of the top 25 most welcoming Congressional districts are represented by Republicans, including Brian Fitzpatrick in PA-01, Nicole Malliotakis in NY-11, and Jaime Herrera Beutler in WA-03.
  5. Since the start of the program five months ago, an average of 875 applications have been received every day. 
  6. Of the top 25 requesting districts for Ukrainians, about two-thirds are suburban and the remaining one-third are urban. 
  7. Nearly 3,000 zip codes in the U.S. are home to at least ten supporters. 
  8. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries represents the top requesting district in the country, NY-08. 
  9. The top 10 metropolitan areas requesting Ukrainians are the greater area surrounding New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Miami, Portland, Detroit, and Cleveland. 
  10. The program will likely welcome more than 100,000 Ukrainians by the end of 2022.

Uniting For Ukraine has proven successful in providing a streamlined pathway to temporary status to tens of thousands who faced the devastating reality of needing to flee war. Americans across the country — from all 50 states — rose to the occasion, welcoming Ukrainians into their neighborhoods and communities. 

As the Uniting for Ukraine sponsor data continues to show how Americans are providing a safe haven to thousands more each week, we encourage the administration to think about how to build upon the success of U4U and expand it to other populations.

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