Biden admin halts ICE deportations to many Eastern European nations; grants Ukraine protected status

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to threaten the world’s security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reportedly suspended deportations to Ukraine and eight additional Eastern European countries.

An ICE spokesperson told FOX News Thursday:  “Amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis occurring in Ukraine, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has paused repatriation flights to Ukraine. ICE will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and make operational changes as necessary.”

Additionally, while ICE has not confirmed it, CBS reported the same day that flights to Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, citing sources “familiar with the pause.”


The move comes as Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas designates Ukraine for an 18-month Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

In a statement on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, Mayorkas said, “Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries. In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”

TPS is granted to countries when conditions in that country are facing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, and/or “extraordinary and temporary conditions.”

According to the statement, “This designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent Ukrainian nationals, and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine, from returning to Ukraine safely.”

“These conditions result from the full-scale Russian military invasion into Ukraine, which marks the largest conventional military action in Europe since World War II,” the statement continues. “This invasion has caused a humanitarian crisis with significant numbers of individuals fleeing and damage to civilian infrastructure that has left many without electricity or water or access to food, basic supplies, shelter, and emergency medical services.”

Individuals must have been residing in the US continuously since March 1, 2022, to be eligible for TPS.

The designation follows a February 28  letter to President Biden, signed by several US Senators, imploring the Administration to “promptly take all necessary steps to ensure that Ukrainian nationals present in the United States are not forced to return to Ukraine, including the designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protect Status (TPS).”

“Ukraine clearly meets the standard for TPS as it is obviously too dangerous for Ukrainian nationals to return to Ukraine due to the ongoing armed conflict,” the letter argued.

“Given the dire situation in Ukraine, the United States has closed its embassy in Kyiv and all embassy personnel and their family members have left Ukraine in recent weeks,” it added. “The most recent State Department travel advisory warns against travel to Ukraine due to armed conflict. The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees noted that the UN is ‘gravely concerned about the fast-deteriorating situation and ongoing military action in Ukraine’ and highlighted that people are fleeing their homes to seek safety.”

“Forcing Ukrainian nationals to return to Ukraine in the midst of a war would be inconsistent with America’s values and our national security interest,” the letter concluded. “As a nation, we must do our part to protect the safety of Ukrainians in the United States by designating Ukraine for TPS.”

According to the American Immigration Council, as a result of TPS designation, qualifying non-citizen individuals will receive a temporary stay of deportation, a temporary work permit for the United States, and are eligible for advance parole.

Melissa Fine


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