As always, the Catherine McAuley Center stands ready and willing to resettle any displaced person when called upon to do so by our D.C. partners, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). We believe that every person has the right to safety and freedom from violence and persecution, and we are proud to help refugee newcomers make their new homes in Eastern Iowa.
The U.S. response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is subject to change quickly. Check back to this post for updates regarding U.S. resettlement of Ukrainians as new information becomes available!
April 21, 2022: The Biden administration announced news of Uniting for Ukraine, a parole program allowing Ukrainians with familial, community or organizational sponsors, to apply for temporary refuge in the United States for a period of up to two years. To qualify, Ukrainians must have a sponsor in the U.S. who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay.
Ukrainians approved via this process will be authorized to travel to the U.S. and be considered for parole, on a case-by-case basis. Once paroled through this process, Ukrainians will be eligible for work authorization. At this time, the Uniting for Ukraine program does not authorize resettlement benefits or federal public benefits, such as refugee cash assistance or Medicaid, nor does it provide a clear pathway to permanent residency for those who desire to stay in the U.S. long-term.
For more information, or to apply for sponsorship, please see the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Please note: the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services is coordinating this program for the state of Iowa. Though resettlement agencies like CMC are not conducting these resettlement efforts, CMC remains available to support the needs of any immigrant or refugee looking for support to navigate community resources and pursue employment goals.
March 24, 2022: President Biden announced that the U.S. will admit up to 100,000 Ukrainians, presumably over the next year and a half, though the exact pace of resettlement is uncertain. For comparison, 75,000 Afghans were resettled nationwide between September 2021 and February 2022.
Important information to note:
- Refugee resettlement agencies like CMC are contracted to provide comprehensive support for a refugee’s first 90 days in the U.S. and have a full picture of a refugee’s history, needs, and progress toward self-sufficiency (see more on the resettlement process). We ask that community members and partner agencies who may develop connections with our newest neighbors coordinate with us in this work.
- Refugee resettlement is a federal process. While legislators, state officials, other nonprofits, and community members may be able to support additional resources for refugee families, only refugee resettlement agencies can conduct resettlement.
- To-date, no special pathways (like Special Immigrant Visas or Humanitarian Parole, statuses available to Afghans) have been created for Ukrainians, meaning they will have to follow the traditional refugee resettlement process, which can be a lengthy process of up to two-years.
What you can do:
While the humanitarian crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan are especially prominent in current media coverage, the reality is that people across the globe have been displaced from their homes due to humanitarian crises. The Catherine McAuley Center also resettles refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, and other locations throughout the year.
Regardless of the status of Ukrainian resettlement, you can help refugees from across the world feel welcomed in Eastern Iowa in the following ways:
- Volunteer on a Saturday to help set up a new home for refugees as a moving volunteer.
- Donate furniture, household items, or other supplies on our wish list to meet the basic needs of our newest neighbors. You can also ship items from our Amazon wish list directly to CMC.
- Teach English or sign up for another volunteer role at the Catherine McAuley Center.
- Donate at cmc-cr.org/give. Unrestricted donations are the most helpful in responding to new or quickly-developing needs.
- Share leads on housing available for rent (full apartments or homes are preferred to shared spaces with other families) by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-363-4993.