Contact: Louisa Tavlas

WASHINGTON, D.C. January 26, 2022 — Today, the Niskanen Center calls on the Biden administration to designate new Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Special Student Relief (SSR) for eligible Ukrainians due to the threat of violence from Russia.

On January 23, 2022, the Department of State issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory and “authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct hire employees (USDH) and ordered the departure of eligible family members (EFM) from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action.” On January 24, 2022, the U.S. Pentagon put 8500 troops on “high alert” for possible deployment to Eastern Europe, as the U.S. and NATO allies prepare for significant military action from Russia.

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS due to ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions (like the threat of invasion). Likewise, SSR applies when “emergent circumstances” — “world events that affect F-1 Students from a particular region and create significant financial hardships, such as but not limited to: natural disasters, wars, and military conflicts” — occur. For both nearly identical designations, it makes sense to allow eligible students more flexibility in their course of study.

“Given the backlogs in humanitarian parole, significant delays in refugee processing, and  drawdown of Embassy employees in Ukraine needed to grant other forms of relief, granting TPS and SSR designations for Ukraine is the only immediate response to the oncoming humanitarian crisis,” said Kristie De Peña, Vice President for Policy at the Niskanen Center. 

”As conditions deteriorate,  we must anticipate and prepare for the needs of eligible Ukrainians and students here in the U.S. until conditions improve,” De Peña continued.  “The government and private sector should prepare for large-scale refugee flows and ensure those inside Ukraine can safely evacuate and restart their lives without fear of persecution.” 

The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2014 to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.


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