In late July, government data showed that nearly 100,000 Americans had applied to sponsor a Ukrainian refugee through a private program implemented by the Biden administration. The was double the amount reported just a month prior. CBS News now reports that nearly 124,000 Americans have applied under the Uniting for Ukraine policy.
Half of the applications are concentrated in just five states, including New York, Illinois, and California, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data obtained by CBS News.
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“Since April 25, 123,962 people in the U.S. have applied to financially sponsor Ukrainian refugees through a private sponsorship program the U.S. government set up this spring, the DHS statistics show,” CBS News reports.
Residents in Washington and Florida have joined New York, Illinois, and California residents in submitting applications to sponsor a Ukrainian refugee through the Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program. New York, Illinois, and California account for more than 46,000 submitted applications, with New York topping the list at nearly 18,000 applications. Washington and Florida also have nearly 18,000 applications combined.
When looking at major regions, New York and Illinois again top the list. The former has seen more than 20,000 applications, while Chicago has seen nearly 16,000 application submitted, respectively. Third on the list is Seattle, which has seen more than 6,500 applications. Significant Ukrainian communities are located within several of these areas, the report noted, pointing to Migration Policy Institute data. That report said that as of 2019, 335,000 Ukrainian immigrants live in the U.S.
"It makes sense that in places where there are a lot of Ukrainian-Americans there have been more sponsorship applications, probably from family members and also churches and other organizations that have supported Ukrainians in the United States and are now supporting Ukrainians abroad," MPI analyst Julia Gelatt told CBS News.
President Biden in March pledged to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians who have been displaced from their homes by Russia’s unprovoked invasion, which the United Nations said was sparking the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II. The administration fulfilled that pledge in the span of roughly five months, with the Uniting for Ukraine initiative accounting for half of that total. CBS News said in June that it stood likely to “become the largest official private refugee sponsorship initiative in U.S. history.”
The Biden administration also reportedly plans to again seek to admit 125,000 refugees in the next fiscal year. President Biden last year raised the admissions cap to 125,000, from a historic low of 15,000 set by the insurrectionist former president.
However, administrations are not required to hit the cap, which the Biden administration didn’t do in the current fiscal year, set to end in a few weeks. To date, fewer than 20,000 have been admitted. Like CBS News reports, the Biden administration has fallen short “largely because of the decimation of the resettlement system under former President Donald Trump, who portrayed refugees as cultural, economic and national security threats.”
“An ambitious refugee cap sends an important message about U.S. humanitarian leadership,” tweeted Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “But just as significant as symbolism is accountability, making it essential that the Biden administration do everything in its power to narrow the gap between its goals and actual admissions.”
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