Press Release: 2022-05-26

MLRI Thanks Congressional Leaders for Support of Ukrainian Refugees

MLRI Thanks Congressional Leaders for Support of Ukrainian Refugees:

Posted by Allie Girouard on May 25, 2022

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2022

Contact: Meaghan Hohl | (617) 448-6973

Boston, MA – Since February 24th, thousands of Ukrainian migrants have entered the United States fleeing the horrific attacks on their homeland by the Russian government. The majority of those who made it to the US border have been granted an immigration status known as Humanitarian Parole, yet their Parole status did not qualify them for federal needs-based benefits to help support them as they transition to life in the United States.

In April, over 300 Ukrainian refugees arrived in Western Massachusetts seeking the assistance of refugee resettlement organizations. However, these Ukrainians were not granted refugee status and services were extremely limited. In collaboration with Central West Justice Center (CWJC) and the Mass Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) brought the plight of Western MA Ukrainian families to the attention of Chairmen Jim McGovern and Richard Neal’s offices.

On May 20th, President Biden signed the United for Ukraine emergency package that includes a $40 billion emergency military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA 2nd) and Richard Neal (D-MA 1st), that final package included statutory language that allows Ukrainians to qualify for federal needs-based benefits on the same basis as immigrants granted refugee or asylum.

“As advocates for the Commonwealth’s lowest income residents, we are deeply grateful to Chairmen James McGovern and Richard Neal for their advocacy with Congress to ensure Ukrainians who reach our shores are rebuilding their lives” said Georgia Katsoulomitis, Executive Director of MLRI. “We applaud Congress and President Biden for ensuring our newest families can access safety net benefits they critically need during this transition.”

“Access to benefits for newly arriving families who are fleeing armed conflict is critically important,” said Kristen Williams, Director, CWJC. “We thank Chairmen James McGovern and Richard Neal for their quick and decisive action to make sure these families’ basic needs are met.”