New Yorkers provide aid to Ukrainian refugees while their legal status is in limbo

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Demonstrators attend a rally in support of Ukraine near the United Nations Headquarters on Saturday, April 2.

Documented’s Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio recently spoke with Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia to learn about how they are resettling in New York City. She found that many of these recent arrivals are primarily supported by local community members and groups, but lack formal government assistance in the immediate. 


Though the nature of the crisis means many will arrive as refugees, the documentation status of Ukrainians arriving to New York is varied. Some arrived on tourist visas they held before the conflict began, some requested humanitarian parole at the US-Mexico border, while others qualify for Temporary Protected Status for 18 months if they entered the US on or before March 1.

Regardless of documentation type, many Ukrainians are struggling to make ends meet. Without formal work authorizations, recent arrivals are forced to spend their savings for day-to-day necessities, while others have turned to the informal cash economy. Despite slow government support, community groups such as The Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, The New York Legal Assistance Group, Safe Horizon, and many more have mobilized to fill critical needs and service gaps.


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