(NewsNation) — The U.S. is joining the ranks of countries welcoming refugees from Russia’s war on Ukraine, opening the borders to take in 100,000 people left homeless or forced to flee by the fighting.
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, CEO of the nonprofit Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, said, “There are certainly examples of where the U.S government has been involved in both a military and humanitarian response.” She said the Biden administration has options to expedite the sometimes Byzantine process of getting refugees into the country.
She said that even before the war in Ukraine, the number of refugees globally was at crisis levels, “There are 83 million refugees out there at this moment, that’s an unprecedented number … I hope that this welcome doesn’t end with the Ukrainian response.” Essentially, every conflict, natural disaster or environmental catastrophe creates refugees, and they all need somewhere to go.
U.S. Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) supports taking in Ukrainian refugees, but says the process shouldn’t stop there. “So the question is, is America open to refugees. That’s the question we have to answer.”
He and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have called on the Biden administration to end Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic rule that allows the U.S. to turn away any refugees and migrants in the name of public health.
Republicans, too, have shown support for bringing Ukrainians to the U.S. However, Sen. Josh Hawley (R.-Mo.) says they must be vetted properly first. “I hope they do that in a more orderly way and national security attentive way than they did with the Afghanistan crisis.”
Given the overall numbers of refugees created by the Ukraine conflict, 100,000 is something of a drop in the bucket, but it remains to be seen if the U.S. will open its doors wider to take in more.