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News and Advocacy

Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility

Posted on September 26, 2022

The new final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility was announced on September 8, 2022. Under the final rule, a public charge is defined as “an alien who has received one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule, for more than 12 months within any 36-month period.” For those not familiar with the public charge ground of inadmissibility, an alien who is likely at any time to become a public charge is generally inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to become a lawful permanent resident.

Uniting for Ukraine Beneficiaries: Preparing for Interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Posted on August 26, 2022

A great resource from VECINA for Ukrainians arriving under U4U to set the expectations for the process at the airport. 

Can Ukrainians seek asylum in US?

Posted on August 16, 2022

Individuals seeking political asylum in the United States must file an Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal within one year of their arrival to the United States, though there are a few limited exceptions to the one-year filing deadline. In addition to the one-year filing deadline, there could be other bars to asylum such as firm resettlement in another country or criminal history.

A person may apply for asylum in the United States regardless of their country of origin or their current immigration status. In order to apply for asylum protection, applicants must show….

Issues Applying for SSN and Benefits for Ukrainians

Posted on August 10, 2022

Among the first priorities for many arriving under the Uniting for Ukraine program is to obtain due benefits. However, there are quite a few instances in which local SSA and other benefits-granting offices are not aware of which benefits Ukrainians are eligible for and how to administer those benefits to recent arrivals. For example, we have heard of situations in which health insurance providers want a Social Security Number, but the local SSA office informs people that they cannot issue an SSN before applicants receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Or, some SSA offices don’t want to issue a non-working SSN in states where Ukrainians are eligible to receive certain benefits without having an SSN (for example, in New York State).  For the purposes of obtaining benefits, all family members can apply for non-working SSN at their local SSA local office. If they are applying for Medicaid, they should be able to get a letter from the benefits-granting agency stating they need an SSN in order to be able to process their Medicaid application. They can take that letter to the SSA, which should then issue them a non-working SSN. The SSA offices can confirm these provisions directly in their Program Operations Manual, found at and It also helps to come to the SSA with a form from… Read more


Posted on August 4, 2022

A new article about our Ukraine Immigration Task Force was just published in the NYSBA journal! Read it at–ukraine-task-force-leads-to-new-national-ukrainian-immigration-task-force/

Ukraine Immigration Task Force Quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted on July 21, 2022

Today’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Welcome to come, but not to work: Ukrainians fleeing war can’t get job permits in the U.S., highlights a critical problem facing hundreds of thousands of recent arrivals to the United States: the lack of ability to work legally. This is not only a crisis for Ukrainians — it is a major problem for Afghans and others seeking refuge in the United States from war, violence, and persecution in numerous countries.  Ukrainians, Afghans, and over a million others face a processing delay of 8-13 months for employment authorization, thanks to an unprecedented backlog of work permit applications. Bloomberg Law reported in May that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had more than 1.5 million pending applications for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) according to data released for the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. That’s only a portion of the 5.2 million total applications in the USCIS processing queue as of June 2022, a figure released by the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman in her annual report to Congress. This issue goes beyond the obvious economic impact of not being able to provide shelter and necessities for oneself and one’s children and/or elderly parents. This issue puts countless vulnerable individuals and families in communities across America at risk for exploitation, victimization, domestic… Read more

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