AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA Welcomes New Humanitarian Parole Process for Ukrainians, but Administration Needs to Recognize Disparate Treatment of Populations

4/21/22 AILA Doc. No. 22042101. Consular Processing, Humanitarian Parole

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomed the announcement that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is building out a new streamlined process to allow U.S.-based individuals and organizations to more easily sponsor Ukrainian refugees and help bring them to safety under a new “humanitarian parole” program, Uniting for Ukraine. But AILA urges that more be done to help all refugees worldwide, particularly those from African, Caribbean, and Central American nations. The administration should redouble its efforts to correct what continues to be starkly disparate treatment of other populations who face dire circumstances and need humanitarian aid and protection.

AILA President Allen Orr stated, “This news is very good for Ukrainians fleeing for their lives and we are very glad that this streamlined process will offer them a faster route to safety and security they so desperately need. However, it is glaringly obvious that this population is being treated differently, when tens of thousands of our Afghan allies, including those who served alongside U.S. military forces, remain in extremely dangerous and life-threatening circumstances months and months after the U.S. withdrawal and the country descended into chaos. Just as compelling are the needs of citizens of other countries, particularly African nationals and Central Americans who are fleeing violence and persecution and are arriving at America’s doorstep only to be stiff-armed by border expulsion policies and denied humanitarian protection. There is much left to be done.”

AILA Executive Director Ben Johnson added, “We also need to see additional resources disbursed to refugee organizations to help them handle the load and offer services when Ukrainians arrive. One other major concern is the many Ukrainians who are already en route or at the U.S. southern border and are being expelled based on the Title 42 border expulsion policy. Their plight is drawing a huge spotlight on the President’s continued use of an unjustifiable policy to expel and block asylum seekers at the U.S. border. Clearly, Uniting for Ukraine is a major and important re-envisioning of our refugee processing capacity in the U.S. and this kind of innovative and creative solution has the opportunity to be lifechanging for people who have been torn from their homes and communities. But the obvious differences in treatment of disparate populations is inexcusable. America should be welcoming refugees and asylum seekers who are being persecuted in an equitable and just manner.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.