We are all outraged by the Ukrainian crisis and the death and destruction that has come in its wake. Agudath Israel is doing what it can to provide humanitarian relief to the injured and displaced. We have raised millions of dollars for food, medicine, housing and other vital necessities, to be distributed throughout affected areas in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
But there is more we can do!
We can urge Congress to call upon the Biden Administration to take steps to ease the massive refugee crisis by expediting family reunification cases so that Ukrainians with family in the U.S. can arrive on these shores as quickly as possible. Family reunification is a central focus of American refugee policy.
There are two actions the Administration can take:
Lautenberg Amendment Cases — The Lautenberg Amendment eases the refugee process for religious minorities who have suffered historic persecution in their home countries – and, in Ukraine, Jews, Pentecostals, and others, are eligible. Many applications are already in the pipeline and should be expedited by allowing applicants to come to the U.S. and complete processing here or by allowing them to complete processing in refugee centers in Europe. The Administration should also do all within its power to expedite the process of newly-filed Lautenberg cases.
Immigrant Visa Applications – Another way the Biden Administration can bring relief to Ukrainians is to expedite pending immigrant visa applications and allow these applicants to enter the U.S. as refugees or parolees. Otherwise, this process could take months or even years of waiting! This has been done previously for other groups (Iraqis and Haitians) and the exigent circumstances facing Ukrainians warrant that it be done there as well.
We urge you to contact your Senators and Representatives as soon as possible to call upon the Biden Administration to take these critical steps that will bring relief to thousands who are suffering displacement. These are actions that do not require legislation and that the President can put into effect right away.
Click here to take action.
Thank you for your help!
Rabbi Abba Cohen
Vice President for Government Affairs
Agudas Yisroel of America