Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) celebrates the passage of language in the Ukraine supplemental signed by President Biden making Ukrainians in the United States with humanitarian parole status eligible for certain refugee benefits and services through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). These essential benefits include Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA), Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), and employment case management services.
Eligibility for ORR benefits and services is an important step in providing the support structures newly arriving Ukrainians will need. They will also need strong support from their local communities, and this is where LSSNCA plays a vital role in mobilizing communities to help with housing, education, mentoring, English language practice, and other services aimed at fostering self-sufficiency and resiliency.
Although humanitarian parole allows a safe pathway to the United States, it does not provide a pathway for long-term legal permanency. Missing from the supplemental was language to pass an Afghan Adjustment Act which would have provided a legal pathway to residency for the 76,000 Afghans who arrived through humanitarian parole last year and are now in legal limbo. We hope to see a strong bipartisan effort in the near future that would allow Afghans and Ukrainians with humanitarian parole, and for those it is unsafe to return, to have a pathway to legal permanency.