New York City will provide $2 million to assist Ukrainians in New York, along with those who are expected to arrive amid the country’s war with Russia, officials announced Friday. The funding will be distributed through Ukrainian community-based organizations and provide legal and translation services, along with resettlement costs.
“We are well aware, as the blood spreads through Europe, that the conflict has (also) taken place on the soil of . . . New York, as one of the largest Ukrainian populations in this country,” Mayor Eric Adams said Friday while making the announcement alongside Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro outside of City Hall. “And we want to be here to say . . . that we are with you. We stand with you, we support you, not only in words, but in deeds.”
The announcement follows one made by President Joe Biden a day earlier that the U.S. will welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees as part of a new humanitarian parole program titled Uniting for Ukraine. The program will assign refugees a sponsor, each of whom will be vetted by the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services through an application process expected to open on April 25.
The program is aimed at securing special status for fleeing Ukrainians to reside in the U.S. legally via a “streamlined” process, federal officials said Thursday. It’s also a response to the informal pipeline through northern Mexico that Ukrainian refugees have been using in recent weeks to get to the U.S. border. About 15,000 have taken this route since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24. Under the new program, the U.S. will no longer admit Ukrainian migrants seeking to cross the southern border.
Friday marked the 58th day of the Russian war on Ukraine, which has caused an estimated $2 billion in weekly losses to the Ukrainian economy and infrastructure, Consul General of Ukraine in New York Oleksii Holubov said Friday, speaking alongside Adams. “We cannot even estimate to what extent Ukrainian railways, cities, residential areas, schools and kindergartens are ruined by those called soldiers, but who are really rapists, murderers torturers,” he said.
Already, the Adams administration has coordinated with the federal government to begin securing Temporary Protected Status for fleeing Ukrainians who have made it to New York, Castro said. TPS is granted by the Department of Homeland Security to foreign-born individuals who would face danger if they returned to their home countries. In March, the agency announced that Ukraine would be granted TPS status for the next 18 months based on the “ongoing armed conflict,” one of three qualifications under which the U.S. is permitted to assign TPS to an entire country.
New York City is home to an estimated 150,000 Ukrainian-Americans, with large populations in the East Village and Brighton Beach. Council Member Carlina Rivera, who represents the East Village, said the $2 million investment announced Friday was championed by a number of Ukrainian community organizations, including the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America and the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. “We have heard from our neighbors and allies and what is needed. We need legal services and social services for the entire family, case management service and mental health support all in a culturally humble way,” she said at Friday’s press conference.