Hundreds of NYSBA Members Train To Help Ukrainian Refugees
Nearly 750 attorneys took part in specialized training on how to help Ukrainian refugees apply for Temporary Protected Status or TPS. The designation, announced by President Biden and the Department of Homeland Security, allows those fleeing wars and natural disasters to seek protection in the United States.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas extended TPS designation to Ukrainian refugees on March 3. Any Ukrainian refugees here in the U.S. as of March 1 have the ability to apply. Earlier this week, Biden announced a commitment by the U.S. to accept 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.
NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown opened the event, who reiterated the association’s strong stand against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“More must be done. Vladimir Putin shows no sign of backing down and the humanitarian crisis he has caused is steadily worsening,” he said. Brown encouraged the members taking the training to use their skills and knowledge to help those in need. “Every lawyer here has the opportunity to change someone’s life. ”
Two members of the Ukrainian Bar Association and the NYSBA Ukraine Task Force also joined to thank members for their help and support. Inna Liniova, a member of the task force, reported that while 3 million people have left Ukraine for neighboring countries, thousands of Ukrainian men have returned from abroad to fight for their country. She asked that the U.S. remain open to Ukrainian nationals for work.
Ivan Horodyskyy, co-chair of the Ukraine Chapter, reminded the members that the refugees from Ukraine are not economic migrants and will look to return to their lives and homes in Ukraine when it is safe. He ended with words of hope that the Ukrainian cause will prevail. “We can see, hear, feel the changes that is making Ukraine stronger. ”
Michelle Lee of the Legal Project outlined the forms, identification documents and payments needed by refugees to apply for TPS. The status will last from March 2022 to September of 2023. In some cases, TPS can be extended past the first 18 months. If an extension is granted, applicants must reapply in order to stay in the U.S.
Daniel Alicea of the Center for Family Representation outlined important steps to avoid a TPS application rejection and how to navigate the next steps after approval. He also highlighted the red flags to watch out for in an application and when to seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney. Alicea also outlined the backlog of cases at DHS in which thousands of refugees from Haiti and Venezuela are still waiting to hear if they are approved.
If you are interested in helping the NYSBA Ukraine Task Force, please email Carra Forgea at [email protected]. You can find more information on the task force here.