Dear President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas:
I urge you to designate Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and provide Ukrainian students residing in the U.S. through F-1 visas special student relief (SSR).
TPS is a congressionally created humanitarian program managed by the Department of Homeland Security, that provides relief to nationals of designated foreign countries experiencing "ongoing armed conflict," such that returning nationals to that state "poses a serious threat to their personal safety" 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(b). Ukraine is currently experiencing armed conflict as a result of Russia's military invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on February 24, that more than 130 people were killed and over 300 people were wounded less than 24 hours after Russia's military invasion of Ukraine. On February 27, Ukrainian officials stated that more than 350 civilians have been killed, including 14 children. Returning Ukrainian nationals residing in the United States to Ukraine during this ongoing conflict poses a very serious threat to their personal safety.
Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of certain regulatory requirements by the Department of Homeland Security for F-1 students who are nationals of countries experiencing emergent circumstances, such as armed conflict. International students from Ukraine residing in the United States should be provided this relief as Ukraine continues experiencing armed conflict.
The United States has a moral and humanitarian responsibility to support Ukrainians during this ongoing conflict. Thank you for your consideration and attention to this timely issue.