Human Rights

Refugees and Displaced Persons

  • Religion
    Religion and Foreign Policy Webinar: USCIRF's 2024 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom
    Stephen Schneck and Eric Ueland, commissioners of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), will join Elizabeth Cassidy, senior strategic advisor of USCIRF, to present the key policy recommendations of the USCIRF 2024 annual report and the foreign policy implications of international religious freedom today.  USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government agency created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad; makes policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress; and tracks the implementation of these recommendations. USCIRF’s nine Commissioners are appointed by either the president or congressional leaders of each political party, and are supported by a non-partisan professional staff. 
  • Immigration and Migration
    The Strategic Impact of the Global Movement of People: A Conversation With the Council of Councils
    Foreign policy institute leaders from around the world discuss the dynamics of global migration, including the importance of international cooperation in managing both the documented and undocumented movement of people. The Council of Councils (CoC) is an international initiative created by the Council on Foreign Relations to connect leading foreign policy institutes from around the world in a dialogue on issues of global governance and multilateral cooperation. The CoC is composed of twenty-eight major policy institutes from some of the world’s most influential countries. It is designed to facilitate candid, not-for-attribution dialogue and consensus-building among influential opinion leaders from both established and emerging nations, with the ultimate purpose of injecting the conclusions of its deliberations into high-level foreign policy circles within members’ countries.
  • Refugees and Displaced Persons
    How Does the U.S. Refugee System Work?
    The United States has long been a safe haven for refugees from around the world. President Biden is working to expand the country’s resettlement program after the Trump administration made sharp cuts.
  • Europe and Eurasia
    Ukraine Update: Pursuing Justice in Wartime with Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Oleksandra Matviichuk
    Human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk discusses her vision for ensuring international justice and accountability for Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Matviichuk accepted the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties (CCL). Since its founding in 2007, CCL has monitored political persecutions, documented war crimes and crimes against humanity, and advocated for victims of war crimes in Ukraine.  
  • United States
    How the U.S. Patrols Its Borders
    President Joe Biden’s attempts to grapple with a record number of migrants are keeping the role of border enforcement at the center of the U.S. immigration debate.
  • Latin America
    Addressing the Root Causes of Migration in the Western Hemisphere
    Panelists discuss the social, economic, and political factors that contribute to the mass migration of people from Central and South America toward the United States and Mexico and potential U.S. policy responses. The Silberstein Family Annual Lecture on Refugee and Migration Policy was established in 2019 through a generous gift from Alan M. Silberstein and the Silberstein family. The lecture provides CFR with an annual forum to explore emerging challenges in refugee and migration policy in the United States and around the world.
  • Immigration and Migration
    Reporting on Biden’s Border Policies
    Julia Gelatt, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, discuss the Biden administration’s expansion of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program and recent developments in U.S. immigration and border policies. Gustavo Solis, investigative border reporter for KPBS San Diego, discuss sources for information and data on immigration topics and framing stories at the U.S. southern border. The webinar will be moderated by Carla Anne Robbins, senior fellow at CFR and former deputy editorial page editor at the New York Times.   TRANSCRIPT FASKIANOS: Welcome to the Council on Foreign Relations Local Journalists Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. CFR is an independent and nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, publisher, and educational institution focusing on U.S. foreign policy. We are also the publisher of Foreign Affairs magazine. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. This webinar is part of CFR’s Local Journalists Initiative, created to help you draw connections between the local issues you cover and the national and international dynamics. Our programming puts you in touch with CFR resources and expertise on international issues and provides a forum for sharing best practices. So this webinar is on the record. The video and transcript will be posted on our website after the fact at So we are pleased to have Julia Gelatt, Gustavo Solis, and host Carla Anne Robbins to have this discussion on reporting on President Biden’s border policies. Julia Gelatt is senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute where she focuses on U.S. immigration policies, demographic trends, and the implications of local, state, and federal immigration policy. Previously she worked as a research associate at the Urban Institute. Her mixed methods research focused on state policies toward immigrants, barriers to and facilitators of immigrant families, access to public benefits, and identifying youth victims of human trafficking. Gustavo Solis is an investigative border reporter for KPSB (sic; KPBS) Public Media in San Diego. In 2018, he was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team in explanatory journalism for “The Wall: Unknown Stories, Unintended Consequences,” which was a series led by the Arizona Republic involving over thirty journalists to cover the border wall separating Mexico and the U.S. And Carla Anne Robbins, our host, is a senior fellow at CFR. She is the faculty director of the Master of International Affairs Program, and clinical professor of national security studies at Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Previously she was deputy editorial page editor at the New York Times and chief diplomatic correspondent at the Wall Street Journal. So thank you all, and Carla, over to you. ROBBINS: Thank you, Irina, and I’m going to make a pitch—a naked pitch—which is starting tomorrow I’m going to be the co-host of the Council’s The World Next Week podcast, and it’s—I would like to say it’s not Only Murders in the Building, but I’m hoping that people will tune in. So with that, having done my self-promotion, thank you so much everybody for joining us. Thank you to the journalists on the call. We’re going to chat up here and then throw it over to you guys for questions, but if you have questions while we are talking, please, you know, throw them into the chat, raise your hand so we know that you are—you know, you can help shape that conversation as well. And we really appreciate the work you do. We know it’s an incredibly hard time to be in the business, and you’re doing the extraordinary job, and thank you so much for doing it. So Gustavo and Julia, thank you for being here. Julia, can we start with you? As a researcher, can you give us a sense of the scale of what we’re looking at here—you know, how many migrants are trying to enter the U.S., and how much has it changed since Biden came into office from the Trump years? GELATT: Sure. Yeah, last year we saw 2.4 million people being encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border, which is, you know, a really big increase. As soon as President Biden took office, we actually saw the border numbers starting to increase, which isn’t necessarily, you know, because of him. This coincided, of course, with kind of the reopening after really low border numbers during COVID-19, and kind of a resumption of trends that we saw starting in 2019 as well. But we really are seeing big numbers coming at the border. And also we’re seeing really different trends of who is showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border, so, you know, over kind of a longer history there are a lot of Mexican immigrants, a lot of Mexican single adults coming, and then in the Trump years we were really seeing kind of more Central American families and unaccompanied minors. Last year, for the first time, there were more Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans encountered than Central Americans, so we’re seeing just kind of ongoing shifts of who is coming at the border. So, yeah, really kind of big increases and also really different groups that are coming. ROBBINS: How can you explain the different groups? It’s not like Cuba is more repressive this year than it was last year. Venezuela is more repressive this year than it—you know, Haiti, granted, is worse, but that, you know, a long story. Why is it a different mix? GELATT: I think partly it’s the economic impact of the pandemic. That was, you know, tough all around the world, but we’ve seen a lot of economic downturns in the region. That was also why there were Haitians coming to the border in prior years that had been living in South America, but with some economic challenges increasing there, they were making their way to the United States. There are also—I think in some cases, even if the conditions aren’t where I said—sort of like a frustration point. In Cuba we saw big protests, and then a big crackdown, and kind of a sense that, well, this isn’t about to change; the same thing in Venezuela. You know, there had been some kind of hope of the opposition, and it seems like the opposition is really not succeeding. And so, you know, kind of giving up on the hope of change at home can lead people to leave. Maybe also there are people who, you know, were kind of frustrated when the pandemic hit, but delayed their travel while mobility was really hard, and there were public health concerns, safety concerns, and then it became an easier time to move. So I think there are a lot of different push factors. But there is also the impact of President Trump’s—sorry—President Biden’s border policies, which is that, you know Title 42 is still in place—those are really quick expulsions back across the border to Mexico. Those had been mainly applied to Mexicans and to Central Americans, and Mexico wasn’t really wanting to accept nationalities that it also couldn’t return to their home countries. The U.S. doesn’t really have a way to deport people back to—or didn’t—back to Venezuela, to these other countries, and so Mexico also didn’t and so wasn’t wanting to take people expelled under Title 42 from these countries. Now, you know, we’re seeing changing border policies, and Mexico is agreeing to take more nationalities under Title 42, which seems to be having some impact on the numbers. But the word was getting out, you know, that certain nationalities were going to be let into the United States and, you know, that this might be a good time to travel. So the administration is now kind of working on countering that narrative with its new policies. ROBBINS: Thanks. So Gustavo, you are down close to the border. You’re talking to people there. Two things: I want to talk about the factors of the—the push factors, but talk a little bit about the pull factors to start. Certainly the critics of President Biden would say, President Trump is really tough, and that’s why people stopped coming, and this is all because people think they’re going to get a really, you know, immigrant-loving deal from Biden. How much of this is, you know, perception rather than reality? Are people coming because they think they are going to get a better deal from Biden—people you talk to, and how much of it is just, you know, the factors that Julia is talking about? SOLIS: I think most of it is the factors that Julia is talking about—at least the main ones, right? The employment factors, right, working conditions, poverty, violence, discrimination. I mean, I think what Julia said was spot on and very—a key part of this is the shift in migration from traditionally adult men coming for work to now it’s a little bit more diverse, more families, women, children; people seeking kind of humanitarian aid, and I think that shift is very, very important because our entire immigration system was built on one type of migrant—the men, employment—and we’re experiencing a different one which presents a whole slew of different challenges. But back to your question, I think when I talk to them, and I ask them why they are coming and why they decided to come, all the reasons they point to are turmoil back home, whether they are coming directly from impoverished states of Mexico like Guerrero and Oaxaca, or like you mentioned, they are Haitian nationals who have spent the last couple of years in Venezuela or Chile and are kind of finally making their way over here. They do mention some of the policies. Especially like during the election, I do remember hearing in Tijuana there was a big migrant camp, and that essentially formed because there was—during the 2020 election Biden ran on this campaign of rolling back some of Trump’s policies, restoring a more humane system to asylum, and there was this expectation that, you know, not overnight, but eventually they would be able to kind of have a safe and orderly way to get into the country. That unfortunately hasn’t happened to the majority of them. And I would say that that was kind of a factor once they got here, but I wouldn’t say that is a major push factor to when people are deciding to leave their homes. I would say one of the last things they are looking at is U.S. immigration policies. It’s all the internal issues going on there. ROBBINS: This is such a hard trip for people, and it’s just so hard in so many ways. It’s physically hard. It’s dangerous. The potential for exploitation is so enormous. Why are so many women coming now with children that didn’t do it before? You know, I worked in Central America for a long time. Conditions were bad when I worked in Central America. You know, it’s a—why suddenly would women be more willing to take these risks with their children that they weren’t willing to five, ten years ago? SOLIS: Well, based on interviews I’ve done, it’s a calculated risk. And I think in their mind they’re seeing—at least the people for—like the asylum seekers and people fleeing violence—they would see that, if they stay at home, they will most likely die. I mean, just to be frank, they’ve been threatened individually or collectively as a family, and they view the dangerous journey as being less dangerous than staying at home. That’s the only way I can kind of understand that situation. I mean, nobody comes here thinking it’s easy. Maybe there are people who think it’s easier than it actually is, and that might be some human smuggling kind of putting these ideas in their head that it’s an easy walk across the border; it’s not a multi-day-long hike through dangerous territory. But I think they expect it to be difficult. They know it’s dangerous. I mean, they have friends who have done it before, and people go missing all the time. And they are aware of all the challenges, but I think they are making a calculated risk. And more than anything, it’s speaks to the level of uncertainty and desperation back home for them. ROBBINS: Julia, can you explain just some basic terminology for us? What’s the difference between a refugee and asylum seeker—that’s the first thing. And the second thing, can you explain what, under international law, are the obligations of the United States when people come declaring, asking for asylum? GELATT: Sure. So, yeah, refugees and asylum seekers—asylees—are people who are fleeing persecution, who meet the standard of having a well-founded fear of—either have experienced persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution on the basis of race, religion, national origin, membership in a particular social group, things like that. Refugees are processed outside of the United States, so refugees are someone who is outside of their country of origin, but they have—you know, they have experienced persecution, they have a fear of persecution, and they are processed through a combination of U.N. agencies—specifically UNHCR—and then the U.S. government. And if they are found to be refugees in need of protection and, you know, are chosen to come to the United States versus some other country in the world, they will come to the United States with that refugee status, with a legal status. They will come in an orderly way. They will be placed in a U.S. community, given refugee resettlement assistance. Asylum seekers are people who come onto U.S. territory, whether they flew here or come to the border and get onto U.S. soil, and then ask for protection in the United States meeting those same standards. Asylum seekers go through a really long process of being put into removal proceeding and then asking for asylum—usually—in immigration court, and then having those claims adjudicated. If they are found to, you know, be an asylee; if they are granted asylum, then they are also eligible for that same resettlement assistance, although usually by then people have been in the country for quite a while, so they are less likely to be taking advantage of that. Under international law, we have an obligation—we have agreed that we have an obligation that anyone who gets on to U.S. soil has the right to present their asylum claim and to have that claim heard, which, you know, is something that you might not know, given some of the policies of the Trump administration and even some of the things that are being discussed as future possibilities by the Biden administration, but that is our obligation. ROBBINS: And so are people—given our obligations under international law—and it really isn’t just—I mean, international law—of course there’s, like, no police to enforce international law, but there is—there’s a pretty accepted norm internationally that under international law, people have the right to claim asylum, and that has to be adjudicated, but it’s adjudicated by a particular sort of judge, right? And how—is there just a huge backlog of cases? Can we kick people out while their cases are being adjudicated? You know, have different administrations dealt with that differently? I mean, what’s the process?  GELATT: Yeah, so asylum claims are adjudicated in immigration courts, which are part of the executive branch—they are not part of the judicial branch—by an immigration judge. Right now there is a backlog of two million cases before the immigration courts, and eight hundred thousand of those are asylum cases. So there’s an enormous backlog. It’s taking an average of over four years for someone to have their asylum claim fully adjudicated in immigration court. People have the right to stay while that’s ongoing. The exception would be if there is something, you know, very severe in their background. If they have terrorist links or something like that, they could lose their right to claim asylum. But for the most part, they have the right to stay while they are waiting for that full adjudication. The Biden administration has taken a step to try to speed this up. They are sending some asylum cases that originate at the border to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which has its own backlog, although it’s a little bit smaller. So you have those cases hopefully processed more quickly rather than going—waiting in the court backlog and going through the court system. It’s also a friendlier process. That’s in its pilot stage and, you know, we’ll see how that works out and whether that can be ramped up. But that’s one idea for trying to get people their asylum answers more quickly. ROBBINS: And did the Trump administration deal with it the same way? Did they—did they—if you got in and you claimed asylum, you were dealt with in the same way? GELATT: So they tried a number of things. One was having people wait in Mexico through the Remain in Mexico policy, so they would have a U.S. court date in the immigration courts in the United States, but had to wait in Mexico while that, you know, court backlog worked and while they were waiting for their day in court. Under Title 42, the border expulsion order, we are not allowing people to claim asylum in the United States. People who are expelled under Title 42, if they assert that they are afraid of torture in Mexico or their home country, they might be able to come into the United States rather than being expelled, but otherwise, they are not able to present their asylum claims. They are just turned right back to Mexico, which is why many people try again to come into the United States. Kind of at this point it’s a game of chance. If you are expelled under Title 42, you keep trying to cross until maybe you eventually make it into the country. There also—you know, the Trump administration also put into place a ban that was blocked by the courts, and then allowed, and then blocked again that said that anyone who had passed through another country on the way to the United States and hadn’t taken advantage of their asylum system would be ineligible for asylum in the United States. And that’s—the Biden administration is talking about some kind of policy where people who come to the border between ports of entry will have some kind of higher bar to meet in seeking asylum. We’re waiting to see the details of that. Some have said that that will be like that Trump rule—if you’ve crossed through another country you won’t be able to seek asylum. The Biden administration says it’s nothing like the Trump rule but, you know, we don’t exactly know what that’s going to look like yet to really assess that. ROBBINS: So Gustavo, when you talk to people who are seeking to come into the United States and who are going to make asylum claims—and this question of a well-founded fear of persecution is an interesting one. Is it political persecution or is it gang persecution? These are all interesting questions. You know, if you have an abusive husband, you know, an abusive partner—you know, these are violence against women questions. I mean, how much do the people you speak with understand the system? And I’m not saying that they’ve been coached to say the right thing, but it matters what they say, both to make their claim to get into the country, to remain in the country, and when the day finally comes for them to go to court because they are not guaranteed a lawyer, I assume. How much do they understand, and are there NGOs or—you know, do they get some support to at least understand the complexity of the system? Because, I mean, I’ve written somewhat about this, and I’m listening to Julia, and I’ve frantically taking notes because every time I read a story I think I understand it, but it’s pretty complex. SOLIS: Oh, it’s incredibly complex, and the question actually brings up—raises a lot of issues just from even like what asylum is, right? You’d think somebody fleeing gang violence would be a pretty good cause, but that’s not always the cause, and Julia, I think, maybe you could help me out. There are—the way the asylum system is set up in our country, you need, like, certain kinds of persecution, be it religious, gender, ethnic, and I think—and you can correct me if I’m wrong, Julia, but generally speaking, violence—like gang violence and just street crime doesn’t really have—you can’t—there’s no category for that in the way we understand asylum right now legally. So it does present a lot of challenges to their case. The other big issue you touched on is access to attorneys, right? Immigration court is not part of the quote, unquote, “regular court system.” It’s not like in criminal court where you are guaranteed a lawyer. In immigration court, you are—you have the right to a lawyer if you can pay for one or find one to do it pro bono, and a lot of people don’t have that luxury. There are some nonprofits along the border trying to provide legal aid. They do workshops. Al Otro Lado is a good one that does work throughout the border. They kind of do a little bit of asylum screenings, and every once in a while they will be able to provide legal aid to an individual family or migrant, but it’s a drop in the bucket. I mean, the number of people that require legal assistance to manage an incredibly complex case is a lot more than the lawyers who are, A, trained, and B, willing to take them pro bono. I think the Remain in Mexico program really kind of shed light on this, right, at one point. With the Remain in Mexico program you could come to the border, present an asylum claim, and you would start the process, but you would be forced to live in Mexico while that case was adjudicated. The problem with that is that almost nobody got lawyers from that one, right? To get a lawyer you would have to, A, find a lawyer willing to spend the entire day crossing the border in Mexico, meeting with their client, screening their client. It’s just not feasible, especially when you are doing it pro bono. At one point under the Remain in Mexico, I think the people in that program who actually completed and got an asylum status was less than 1 percent, so it just kind of shows you how difficult it can be. ROBBINS: So this is obviously not just a border issue. This is an issue across the country, not least because—unless we’re Native Americans, all of us are, you know, one or two generations away—if not immediately, you know, immigrants. And so say I live in X state that’s hundreds of miles away from the border, and I want to understand the challenges facing people who are trying to get through this legal system. How would I start that? You know, how do I—you know, where do I go to begin to understand that and, you know, understand the system, understand how many people in my community are, you know, going through this—without scaring the you-know-what out of people? (Laughs.) SOLIS: You go to immigration court. That will be the first and best place to start. I mean, they’re all over the country. ROBBINS: Are there immigration courts everywhere? I mean, where are they? SOLIS: Most, if not all, major cities have one. I mean, there’s one here in San Diego. I don’t know exactly where all of them are, but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t one in every single state—definitely one in every major city. And you can—I mean, it’s a court. You can go in and just sit down, spend a morning or an afternoon just hearing the cases. I mean, back to your question about whether migrants understand the process, like, some of it can be heartbreaking because it’s clear that they don’t. I mean, I’ve seen children as young as eight representing themselves in immigration court through a translator, so like just imagine that, right? An eight-year-old, semi-literate child in their language trying to present a claim for themselves in court in a system that they—you know, a system most Americans don’t understand. But if you want to get from a reporting perspective to that point where you are talking to the people actually involved, go to immigration court. If you sit there long enough, you will start to see recurring patterns. You will—I mean, that’s where the immigration lawyers are, so that’s where you will get a couple of good contacts, as well. And you can identify one or two cases to highlight and talk—write something about a bigger issue going on. ROBBINS: Julia, how do you answer that question? How do we—if we want to—I mean, you’re a consumer of news as well as a maker of news. How do we—if we don’t live on the border, how do we begin to understand what’s in reality happening in every city, every community? GELATT: I mean, I rely on the reporting of many of the people on this call-in, many reporters, to know what’s happening at the local level. But, you know, at MPI we tend to look at things kind of at a national level. We produce a lot of data, have a lot of data tools that you can kind of see where immigrants of different nationalities are. We use the data from TRAC, from Syracuse, that shows, you know, what’s happening in the immigration courts, how many cases are being filed, what are the nationalities, what are the outcomes. So, yeah, we use a lot of data, and then I think, you know, right, the immigration courts are the place to go. And then there are networks of legal service providers. They are completely overworked and overstretched, but they are really on the front lines, and really, I think in every community, and trying to do what they can to provide representation of people. So those may be hard people to get on an interview, but those are good places to go to talk with people and to see where people are going. And then, you know, likewise are—I think in most cities now there are really great immigrant-serving organizations, nonprofit organizations that may or may not have legal services but are trying to kind of meet the broader needs of immigrants in their communities, and in many cases, also advocating for this community and really want to be, sharing their stories and talking with reporters about what they are seeing and what they are facing. SOLIS: And if I could add, I think a resource—if you live in a city that is—if you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a consulate, I would reach out to them. Here in San Diego, the Mexican consulate is very helpful, very open with us, and they are—they have an interesting perspective and connections with, obviously, the Mexican foreign nationals, but also undocumented immigrants and different groups that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to connect to. ROBBINS: Can you—and that’s really useful. Julia, can you go back and talk about your data sources—this Syracuse database called TRAC? Can you tell us a little bit about it? And we’ll send links out to everybody, but could you just tell us what that is? GELATT: Yeah, so all credit to them, to the TRAC folks for putting out the data, so they regularly— ROBBINS: Is it T-R-A-C-C or T-R-A-C-K? GELATT: T-R-A-C. I think if you Google that and immigration, you can find kind of a—it’s somewhat of a wonky page—(laughs)—but you can find a lot of their tools. So they regularly submit Freedom of Information Act requests to the government, and they get information on, like, every single immigration court case. They also have data on, you know, how many immigrants are in alternatives to detention, which is a new way that ICE is using to track immigrants that they have encountered. At MPI we have a—what we call our data hub, which is all of our data tools. There is lots of—tons of data in there. Mostly we’re using data from the Census Bureau, so we’re kind of giving a broad picture of who are the immigrants in the United States, what countries are they from, where are they living, what are their characteristics, what are their experiences in the United States. We also have international data tools. So if you go to and then look for our data hub, or just Google MPI data hub, you can find all of the data that we have so that you can kind of get a bigger picture of, you know, who are the immigrants in your community, in your state, in the country overall. ROBBINS: That’s hugely helpful. That’s great. So on January 5, President Biden announced a new asylum policy which denies people from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti—and they previously announced this on Venezuela—the chance to apply for asylum if they cross illegally from Mexico. But they also raised the number of people who can apply for those two-year humanitarian parole, which is basically a temporary work visa. They claim that this was—you know, this very creative way that’s working to stem the flow of undocumented migrants, and the Department of Homeland Security announced in the middle of January, that they said that—had seven-day average from December 11—had gone down to mid-January, had fallen 97 percent because of this new policy for these four groups. Is that right? I mean, is this policy actually working, persuading people that if they just wait, that they have a chance of getting work visas? That’s to Julia and then to—and then to, Gustavo, what you’re saying. GELATT: Yeah, it certainly seems to be working in the short term, if by working they mean reducing the number of people trying to cross the border without authorization—from these countries. Whether that—whether that will hold long term, I think we’ll have to see. There’s just a lot of questions—(laughs)—around this policy, so nationalities of these four countries are now being expelled to Mexico under Title 42. But there are also these parole programs where, if people have a sponsor in the United States, and they have a passport, and they apply and go through a—you know, background check and other basic screening, they can come to the United States with humanitarian parole, which is a temporary right to stay for two years and work. It’s unclear what happens at the end of those two years. That’s one big question here. Another big question is whether the people who are, you know, really desperate and fleeing their homes, and making these really dangerous journeys, are those the same people who can wait at home, find a sponsor, you know, get a passport, and be able to come through this parole program? We’ve seen already thousands of people who have been able to take advantage of the parole program, so that’s another success that the administration can point to. If people who would have otherwise made the dangerous journey can take advantage of parole, I think that’s a really big win. Although, I should note that there is now litigation by several states, and then Stephen Miller’s new organization, against this parole program, saying that it exceeds executive authority to create a program like this. So, that challenge is hanging out there. (Laughs.) And they filed that suit in a friendly, to them, you know, part of Texas, where they may be able to get an injunction to stop that parole program. So that will—that could really stop that. But it—you know, it’s a combination of carrot and stick, carrot being this new pathway to the United States, and the stick being tougher border enforcement for these groups. The combination seems to, in the short term, you know, have had this impact. But people may be kind of just waiting to see how this plays out, and watching for a little bit. And then, depending how it does play out, that will shape, you know, future decision making, and whether those border numbers start to go up again, I think. ROBBINS: So, Gustavo, what are you seeing? Is this working? I mean, I understand working is a relative term— SOLIS: (Laughs.) ROBBINS:—it’s by their definition of what working is. SOLIS: Yeah, I—TBD, I think, just echoing what Julia said, right? It is a fact that the numbers of certain nationalities that are included in this program are going down. The most interesting issues I’ve seen is just that the method of obtaining this humanitarian parole is through this mobile phone app that isn’t really working for a lot of people. So I think if that app, CBP One, continues to not really deliver, then I would anticipate the numbers will go up, just out of sheer desperation. Other problems with the app, CBP One, solely available in English and Spanish right now, so if you’re an immigrant who doesn’t speak either of those, you know, good luck. Obviously, you need a smartphone, you need a reliable internet connection. That’s not always a given in border towns. And there’s just this sort of—the way it works, I mean, it’s like—one of the sources I talk to just described it as, like, Ticketmaster, right? It’s based—like, every morning, you get up—or I think it’s nine in the East Coast, six here in California—and you sign up, and try to sign up for an appointment. And if you get it, great. If you don’t, you know, good luck. Try again tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. It’s not really based on who has the highest need, or is in the most danger. And I don’t think it really—it sounds great in theory, it sounds great coming out of Washington, right? Like, oh, they can just download the app and sign up, and do it that way. In practice, at the border, particularly for people in dangerous circumstances, it doesn’t really work out. So, I think for now, it—we’re kind of—Julia said, wait and see. But there might come a time where people just kind of abandon the app, and then would kind of revert back out of desperation to crossing illegally. ROBBINS: So, we have a question, yay. (Gives queuing instructions.) We are now in the question time. Abigayl Martin has a question. Abigayl, do you want to ask your question? If not, I can ask it for you. Abigayl Martin asked, what does it take to be expelled under Title 42? GELATT: So, when someone, yeah, comes across the U.S-Mexico border, the Border Patrol is making decisions, kind of based on resources that they have, who they’ll process into the United States, who they’ll put into detention, who might already have a removal order, they can remove them, you know, using that old removal order. One of their options is to expel someone under Title 42. That’s the quickest, fastest, least resource-intensive option that they have, because it basically doesn’t involve any processing. They just send someone right back to Mexico. So—but Mexico, of course, controls who comes across their borders. So Mexico, you know, had agreed to take, of course, Mexicans, also people from the northern Central American countries under Title 42, and now, Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans. But last month, only 20 percent of people who were encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border were expelled under Title 42. Or, only 20 percent of encounters ended in an expulsion—it’s really events, not people. But so, most people are being processed into the United States under regular rules. But some of them are being expelled under Title 42. ROBBINS: So, we have a question from Phillip Martin from—I think from WGBH. Phillip, do you want to ask your—ask the question? Q: Sure, it’s—since it’s a long one. I’m always—I continue to be amazed by the inability, it seems, of the White House, and for that matter, many activists, to explain exactly what is happening, when you see these occasional stories of—that were—that are used politically—when you see, quote, unquote, tens of thousands of individuals lined up at the border. I’m trying to understand why it is that the White House, and for that matter, activists, seem to have a difficult time explaining accurately what is happening on the border. And I tend to believe that the reason it is, is because it’s a complex issue that is difficult to explain in simplistic terms. But because it’s politicized, it has taken on a life of its own. I’m just wondering if our—if Julia and Gustavo could put that—could basically talk about that form of communication, why it seems so difficult to get that across to most Americans, it seems. ROBBINS: Gustavo, do you—do you—you must encounter a lot of prejudice, too, from people, and—as well as confusion from readers. But you know, the pictures are very compelling, as Phillip says. And then there’s all this stuff about caravans coming and invading the United States, and all of that. I mean, how do you deal with that, as a writer and a reporter? SOLIS: Well, I think Phillip’s right, in just recognizing that these are incredibly complex and nuanced issues, right? It’s very difficult to sum up even something as simple as, like, a Title 42, without—(laughs)—a couple of lines of background and explanation behind it. I think the problem, especially with information coming out of Washington, is that the rhetoric is just so divorced from the reality at this point, right? You can only start talking about this topic so long before somebody mentions a phrase, like open borders, invasion, amnesty. I mean, all those things don’t really mean anything to me. (Laughs.) I don’t really understand them, because they’re used in a variety of different contexts. I think from a reporting standpoint, you should avoid using those phrases that sound awesome, but don’t really mean anything. And there should be kind of a balance between going that route and going the super wonky, legalese route. I mean, you’re only as good as your sources, so I think in terms of sources, I would avoid whenever possible, using elected officials—(laughs)—in D.C. or state capitals. I mean, just, if anyone tuned into the House Judiciary Committee hearing, like, it’s clear that a lot of these lawmakers don’t know the basic function of customs and border protection sometimes. So, I would just rely on experts, and really framing the stories on the individual migrants, asylum seekers, kind of how it impacts them. I think that simplifies it very well. Because you kind of only have to focus on one person and what’s going on with them, instead of trying to cover the border. But I—Phillip, I kind of echo what you’re feeling, and said, with—especially with the frustration of just how complicated and convoluted some of this can be. It’s very easy to mess up. ROBBINS: And it will get— Q: Thank you. ROBBINS: —I’m sorry—it will get even more politicized, I suspect, if the Republicans in the House go ahead with their threat to call for impeaching Mayorkas from Homeland Security. And this could be—this could really become a, just sort of a made-for—made-for politicization television moment. So, we’ll hear—we’ll hear a lot more of this. We have a question from Jessica Montoya, which I’m going to read quickly, just because we have lots of questions coming in, yay. And I think this is good for Julia. So, Jessica, if you don’t mind, I will—I will read it. What Jessica writes is: I’m from San Antonio, Texas, and this topic is everyday coverage for us. With all of these policies and restrictions to come in, every day people are led in and driven to immigrant centers, and then from there, they can go wherever. So, under what laws are these individuals coming in? If some have to, you know, do the refugee asylum process or are expelled under Title 42, I think, you know, how can some people get to come in and other people get expelled? GALETT: Yeah, I think I mentioned that there—that’s a great question, and it’s confusing. (Laughs.) And there are a bunch of different pieces of immigration law in here. When people come across the border, there are a number of ways that they can be processed. They could be expelled under Title 42. If they’re not, they could be put into immigrant detention. The Biden administration isn’t detaining families with children, so this would only apply to adults who are traveling by themselves or with other adults. But they could be put into immigrant detention, and then once they’re there, they could be there for a while, or they could be there for a short period. A lot of people—with the really high border numbers coming, and kind of overwhelmed government systems, a lot of people are released into the United States. And that looks like two different things. One thing is they’re issued a notice to appear in immigration court, so that’s the beginning of deportation proceedings. That can happen right at the border. They travel on to their community, but they have this court date waiting for them, and at some point in the future—but it can take a while, because of backlogs—they’ll go into the immigration court. And then they can, you know, if they want to claim asylum, they can present their asylum claims. Usually, there are multiple hearings that people have over time in immigration court, one to kind of schedule things, and then one to actually get into their asylum case. But whether they claim asylum or not, they’re in removal proceedings. And at the end of that, they could be ordered deported; they could be given asylum. Other people that are processed into the U.S. are told, because the government is overrun, and they don’t have time to kind of process those notices to appear at immigration court, they’re released and told, here’s the local ICE office in the place that you’re going. Go check in with them, and they’ll issue your notice to appear in court. And also, we’re enrolling you in alternatives to detention, meaning that you either have an ankle bracelet, or more likely, we’re giving you this cell phone app. You have to check in, you know, daily, show your face, or we’ll be tracking your location or something, some kind of monitoring, to try to make sure that people comply with these instructions to check in with ICE. And then that again will start their immigration court proceedings. So people are being let into the United States, but it’s not like they’re just being let in. They’re being let in to wait for their removal proceedings. People under general order can’t be removed from the United States without having a formal removal order from an immigration judge. The exception is Title 42; there may be some other exceptions. (Laughs.) But so, that’s why people are put into removal proceedings. I hope that clarifies, rather than making it more complicated. ROBBINS: Jessica, do you have a follow-up for that? I think you answered her question. So, we have a question from Rebecca Santana. Rebecca, do you want to answer your—ask your question? Or shall I read it? Jessica says thank you. Yes, answered. Rebecca Santana, do you want to ask your question? Q: No, you can go ahead and read it. Can you hear me? ROBBINS: Sure. Although— Q: Go ahead and read it. (Laughs.) ROBBINS: OK. (Laughs.) Rebecca, where are you from? I’m not actually looking at the list right now because I’m trying to— Q: Oh, OK. I’m in D.C. ROBBINS: OK. OK. So Rebecca asks: Can both of you talk through the process of credible fear hearings? Where they happen, who’s usually doing the interview, and what happens at the end of the hearing? Any insight you can give into that process would be helpful. Gustavo, I assume that you go to credible fear hearings? Can you talk about that? SOLIS: I can’t talk about that too much. That actually happens before the actual, like, hearing and court case begins. That’s actually—I think, Julia, you could talk more about that—but that’s one of the first steps to kind of establish that you have a reason to stay in the country, and have a shot at asylum. That’s, like, really early on. GALETT: Yeah, I can talk about that. That’s actually an option at the border that I skipped over, because it’s not happening a lot these days. But something else that can happen at the border, besides being expelled under Title 42, put into detention, or just released, is that people can be put into something called expedited removal. This is what most people went through at the border when border numbers were lower in, like, the late Obama years, early Trump years. And what this means is that it’s a process to quickly remove people from the country. As defense against being quickly removed through expedited removal, people coming to the border can say that they are afraid of going home, and then they’re given something called a credible fear screening. So, it’s kind of an initial screening to see if they have—if they’re likely to have some valid asylum claims. It’s a pretty low bar on purpose, because people are just coming across the border; they don’t have their papers in order; they’re in a state of, you know, kind of chaos and confusion. But if people can meet this kind of low bar to find that they have credible fear, then they can be released into the United States, and go into their asylum hearings. This takes more time, and usually, people are detained while they wait for their credible fear screening. It takes more government resources, so that’s why this is happening in a smaller percentage of cases. More people are either being expelled or released into the United States right now. But this is part of the regular order of border processing. ROBBINS: So, is it German Visbal with LTV Univision in Miami? German, would you like to ask your question? Is it—I just—I have, my name is German Visbal. I—yes, German, do you want to ask your question? Or should I read it? FASKIANOS: Carla, this is Irina. I think he needs to unmute himself. ROBBINS: Can you unmute yourself? Well, I can read it: For a long time, we’ve been discussing—I used to live in Miami—for a long time—(laughs)—yes, I’m going to read it for you. We couldn’t hear you. For a long time, we’ve been discussing that the policies that we see today are more an improvisation. Do you consider it this way? Gustavo, does it feel like they’re just making it up as they go along? Or does there seem to be a—some method to this? SOLIS: No, they are just making it up—(laughs)—as they go along. And for decades now, right? And that’s because in the absence of legitimate, comprehensive immigration reform, we’re kind of reduced to this system, where most new immigration policy happens either through executive action, like DACA, or court challenges, right? That’s kind of what kept Remain in Mexico, and is keeping Title 42, like, dead or alive, dead or alive, depending on what month it is. But it is very, I don’t know, reactionary might be a good term for it. But it’s tiring. I mean, you know, President Trump came in with a bunch of different executive orders, and things do change overnight. I think that add—this kind of culture and environment adds to the uncertainty, the confusion. And the complexity of our immigration system right now, is that it’s made up of executive orders for various administrations, and there’s a constant, like, dark shadow hanging on some individual policies in the—in the way of lawsuits, right? Depending on how one court rules, it can change the entire system overnight. ROBBINS: Julia, is there—I mean, I know there’s no—almost no possibility that Congress is going to do anything, but maybe. Because there is a possibility. There are moderate Republicans who may make common cause with Democrats on some issues. Is there any possibility of any sort of immigration reform? Or is that—or have you just stopped even paying attention to it, because it’s just so impossible to imagine? GALETT: It is hard to be— ROBBINS: And Lindsey Graham was supporting immigration reform. That’s exactly how old I am. (Laughter.) GALETT: Yeah, it is really hard to be hopeful about the chances of immigration reform in Congress. I mean, Congress struggles to pass legislation in general, much less something, you know, really controversial like immigration. I think one thing that we’re really watching is the litigation over the DACA program. It looks like it’s kind of—it’s been somewhat slow-moving, but we could have a court decision in April. The judge could decide, you know, not only that the program was illegal—which is probably, likely, how he’ll rule—but also he could, you know, mean—he could allow that to mean that current DACA holders will lose their protections when their work authorization expires. That, you know, I imagine would lead to a huge outcry, and tons of pressure on Congress. Like, it could—that could not happen. This judge could also stay the impact of his ruling. You know, it could kind of continue as it is until it gets to the Supreme Court. But at some point, there might be an adverse ruling, and that would really push Congress. I think there’s such, you know, enormous support for DREAMers in the United States, and giving them a path to citizenship. You know, and I hope that someday, there will, you know, be real reform. I mean, we really could use an update to our visa policies. You know, the president can use parole to try to let people in legally, but ultimately, Congress could give people a real visa pathway to the United States. Employers are hungry for workers, migrants want to come and work, and they want the safety of the United States. If we can, you know, allow for that match between willing workers and willing employers, that could go a really, really long way, along with all kinds of other fixes that are needed in our immigration laws. But you know, hard to hope for those broader changes in the short run. ROBBINS: So, can I take this moment here—I know this isn’t a border question, but I’m going to ask it just really quickly here. The Afghan Adjustment Act did not go through at the end of the year. Seventy-thousand-plus Afghans who worked with the U.S. military in Afghanistan who are here, their visas could potentially, you know, run out this year. What’s happening with that? GALETT: Yeah, that’s another challenging one. I mean, there’s—there was such broad American support for the Afghans in allowing them to come to the United States, and you know, a big outpouring of support and help for Afghans once they arrived. And then that got caught up in politics too. I mean, in the past, whenever the U.S. has had a big parole program—like after the end of the Vietnam War, or for Cubans—we’ve had an adjustment act, where people paroled in could adjust to permanent status. So, I am—maybe not in the next year or two, but you know, maybe, hopefully after that, there could be room for an Afghan Adjustment Act. We also, of course, have seen over a hundred thousand Ukrainians paroled into the United States. You know, they also need a path to permanent residence, unless that war ends quickly, and people can go home. So, maybe there could be a combined push for those two populations, kind of as this all progresses. A lot of Afghans are applying for asylum right now, and many of them will be successful in their asylum claims. But that’s a really difficult way for them to get a path to permanent residence, when we already decided to invest the resources to evacuate these Afghans here, because we saw them as, you know, having supported the U.S. government, and being in danger. So, an Afghan Adjustment Act would just make it a lot simpler for the Afghans, and for the government. It would—it would save a lot of resources when we have this big asylum backlog. ROBBINS: So—(inaudible)—Julia, as I wait to see if there are any more questions. Are there? Ah, Sarah Betancourt. Sarah, do you want to read your question, or voice it? Ah, feel free to read this out loud. Sarah Betancourt, GBH News: Texas, Arizona, and Florida’s governors have bussed or flown immigrants from their states to cities and states with immigrant-friendly policies in the north for the past ten months. I remember one of the coldest—now, I’m going to add in here—one of the coldest nights in Washington, D.C., they also bussed them to the, funnily, vice president’s house. States like Massachusetts have seen two flights from DeSantis, but have seen overflow from New York City buses and local hospitals, ERs, airport. Wondering if the communication between immigrant advocacy groups and state governments in the border states, and state and local governments in northern states has improved at all? It seems like every time there’s a group of unhoused immigrants, everyone scrambles. It took a while to create some kind of process to get immigrants into the already strained Massachusetts shelter system. And that effort seems to be failing. I’m particularly interested in Massachusetts, and how organizations and governments on border states are communicating, with advocacy groups helping groups up here prepare, and make sure people’s needs are being met. Jump ball here. GALETT: I can start, and feel free to add, Gustavo. SOLIS: Sure. GALETT: So, yeah, the Texas governor was explicitly not communicating with the northern cities about, you know, when migrants were coming, which migrants were coming, any medical needs that they had when they arrived. But I—my understanding is that there are now relationships between the service providers in Texas, that are actually, you know, coordinating the migrants who voluntarily get on those buses, and then the service providers in D.C. and New York—which is not to say that there aren’t surprises, like changing the location of the dropoff. In Arizona, they—there is explicit coordination between the local officials and, I don’t know, service providers in Arizona and the service providers in D.C., where those migrants are being bussed. They send manifests. They send information about medical needs. And so, the local communities can prepare. I think your question also gets at, kind of more broadly, just, you know, the cities weren’t ready for this. We’re seeing a lot of—or we were seeing a lot of migrants who didn’t have U.S. ties. Traditionally, people who come to the United States, they know someone, they have somewhere to live when they first get here, and kind of have that initial safety net. But it seemed like particularly, a lot of the Venezuelans that were coming didn’t have that. And they were really depending on local governments for the very basic basics of shelter, and food, and you know, medical needs, and things like that. So, it does raise the question of whether there could be more coordination. You asked about coordination between kind of border communities and receiving communities. But I think there could really be a role for the federal government as well. There is some funding that’s available as reimbursements, but I feel like there could be more coordination of, kind of, how do you provide these services? What are the federal resources available, that are—you know, this is a problem that’s a federal problem, but hitting states and localities. And then just information-sharing, about who’s coming, what the needs are, kind of models that have worked, what’s been tried and not worked so well, and just lessons learned, you know, I think there could be more of that. SOLIS: Yeah, just to add a little bit. I know here in San Diego, the—I think—Julia, what you said about the fact that a lot of migrants coming in have established familial ties, friends, relatives, who they want to see—so, at least until a few years ago, most of the people who came, they would stay in a shelter in San Diego for two, three days, connect with their families, and then go either via bus or airplane to wherever their community was. And that, I think, is still the case. But like you said, the people who don’t have those ties present a unique problem. They are a little bit less transitory, and they do require a little bit more resources. And that’s where people are struggling a little bit. I know in the beginning, some of the people that were bussed to New York were kind of OK with it, because that’s where they wanted to end up, anyway. I mean, here in San Diego, and I would imagine most border cities, migrants don’t stay here. They go to their final destination. It’s just another part of the journey. But there is something to be said about the chaos of forcing a city who isn’t used to being part of that traditional migration route to essentially create a new one by force, by just kind of bussing people there. Doesn’t make much sense, especially if there’s no communication. ROBBINS: So, we have just a few minutes left. And I—David Lyons, from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, has made a statement, rather than a question. David, do you want to explain your statement about—oh, ah, here we go. So, David Lyons, from the Sun Sentinel noticed that they regularly receive announcements from the Coast Guard that it has repatriated migrants from different countries, multinational, who have been intercepted along the southeast Florida shoreline—you know, people on the same boat who come from different countries. Can they legally be returned to the country of their journey’s origin, without having their situation processed? GALETT: I have to confess to being a little bit ignorant about the law in this situation. But if someone’s not on U.S. soil, they wouldn’t have that right to claim asylum. So I believe that that’s the case. I believe that they can just be returned to the country that they were coming from. And that generally is what happens when Haitians or Cubans are being intercepted at sea. ROBBINS: And now that the Cubans are letting them be towed back, which they weren’t—you know, which they weren’t for a while. So, final round. As we said, we just have a few minutes left. Julia, as a consumer, as well as a maker of news, what do you think we’re not covering, and we should be covering? GALETT: That’s a tough question. I don’t have a great answer. But I just—I mean, I’m so grateful for all of the local coverage of, kind of, the impacts of things. As—I think, Gustavo, as you said, you know, we really closely follow what the administration is saying, and we read the press releases, and we read the announcements, and we kind of assess, like, what might this look like. But then we really rely on reporting to know how it plays out. What are the—what are individuals at the border, in U.S. communities, facing? What are they experiencing? You know, what are the unintended consequences of these policies? What are maybe the intended consequences? You know, how are—how are plans not kind of proceeding as they were planned, or, I don’t know, what—you know, what new trends are emerging? So, I think just, really, kind of having that real-world impact of, you know, we know what the official statement was, or we know what the initial plan was. But what does that really look like when the rubber meets the road? That’s what I really appreciate when I’m consuming the news. ROBBINS: Vertical integration. So, Gustavo, you—I don’t feel sorry for you, because you get to live in a really great place. (Laughter.) But—it’s like 30 degrees in New York right now. So, but if you weren’t in your really great place, and they said to you, go someplace else in the country, and follow this story, you know, what else would you be writing about, that would also be developing that? You know, what different experiences away from the border would you like to be reporting on? SOLIS: I think there’s so many to choose from. And every community is kind of affected differently. Like, I’m thinking of the—all of the meatpacking facilities in the Midwest. Those are mostly migrant-run. Even in San Francisco, there’s more—I think the immigration issue would be one about visas, and employment, and lack of access to those. I think it hits everyone differently. And I think the problem is, when we think and only discuss immigration and its relation to the border, we really limit the stories that we can tell over there. So I would—I mean, every—I would assume every, or most communities in the U.S. have a large immigrant population, and that’s where, like, just go there. (Laughs.) Be there. I mean, half the story is just showing up and being there, listening to the right people. But if we keep on—I think, like you said—relying on, kind of, press releases coming out of the state capitol or Washington, then we’re not going to—I think we’re just going to keep on telling the same narrative, kind of pushing that. We’re not going to create new ones, or really expand people’s understanding. ROBBINS: Well, this has been great. I just want to thank Gustavo Solis and Julia Gelatt. And of course, I want to thank Irina for bringing us all together, and thank everybody for such great questions. So, Irina, I’m going to turn it back to you, just with the reminder that we are going to share with you Gustavo’s writing and Julia’s research, and links to the things that they mentioned. So you guys will have easier time doing your research. So, back to you, Irina. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Thank you, Carla, Julia, and Gustavo. We appreciate it. You can follow Julia on Twitter at @J_Gelatt, Gustavo at @Journogoose, and Carla at @RobbinsCarla. So, go there. And as always, we encourage you to follow us. Visit,, and for the latest developments and analysis on international trends, and how they are affecting the United States. And of course, do share with us your suggestions for future webinars. You can email us, [email protected]. Again, thank you all for being with us, and for today’s really terrific conversation. We appreciate it. ROBBINS: Thank you, guys. (END)
  • Middle East and North Africa
    Higher Education Webinar: Migration, Refugees, and Education
    Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College and program director of the Open Society University Network’s Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives in Eastern Africa and the MENA region, leads the conversation on migration, refugees, and education. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Rebecca Granato with us to discuss migration, refugees, and education. Dr. Granato is associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College, and program director for the Open Society University Network’s Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives in Eastern Africa and in the MENA region. She also serves as an associate at Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking, and has developed and delivered teacher professional development in Myanmar, Jordan, and Kyrgyzstan, among other places. Her work focuses on contextualized, learner-centered experiences in undergraduate courses, teacher professional development, and research-oriented training in places affected by crisis and displacement for refugees, internally displaced people, and those in host communities. So, Rebecca, thank you very much for being with us today. I thought we could begin with you sharing your insights on some of the barriers refugees and migrants face in higher education. GRANATO: Thank you, Irina. And thank you to CFR for having me here today. I’m just going to share a few slides. And I’ll talk for just ten or twelve minutes to Irina’s question. Let me share my screen. So what I thought I would do is give you some background on higher education in displacement context, including some of the barriers, challenges, successes, and goals. And I was also going to talk a little bit about the need for close collaboration across seemingly disparate actors in order to open opportunities for those affected by displacement. So some of you may know this, but as of the month of May 2022, the number of forcibly displaced individuals across the globe crossed the 100 million mark. This is significant. I mean, this is the largest jump in displacement since World War II. And what this really means in real terms is that one in every seventy-eight people on Earth have actually been forced to flee. Nearly half of these individuals are youth. I think as many of us know, sustainable development goal number four demands that we ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. But we have a long way to go when it comes to full participation of refugees and exercising this right to a full educational experience. That said, a lot of work has gone into awareness-raising of the barriers that this population faces, as well as into establishing and promoting global markers for success. Sone example of a really important marker out there is something that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established, a global goal called the 15by30 Roadmap, which sets a target of enrolling 15 percent of refugee youth into higher education by 2030. Which means about a half a million individuals. This would raise the numbers up to 15 percent from 5 percent, which is what we have today in terms of enrollments, which hovers around 90,000 refugees taking advantage of higher education opportunities. In order to reach this goal, as this roadmap articulates, there are five education pathways that refugees can pursue. And the five are intended to ensure that refugees’ needs are met in different ways. Just like our needs when we want to go to university are also met in different ways. One would be national university enrollment in countries of first asylum. Another would be UNHCR tertiary scholarship programs, which could be in universities of—universities and countries of first asylum, or also in third countries. Connected higher education programs, which use online education and blended learning. Complementary education pathways for admission to third countries, which are third country scholarships that include a durable solution. And then TVET opportunities, technical and vocational education and training. So through these five pathways is how UNHCR intends for the global community to help refugees actually move in greater numbers into higher education. The UN has also launched a campaign called Each One Take One. This was launched quite recently. And what it asks is that universities across the globe each take at least one refugee student onto their campus. So it’s a catchy tag. It won’t have a major impact on its own, but the goal of some of these catchy tags is really to help promote the idea of refugee inclusion in higher education. But in order to make this a reality, there are still a number of barriers that need to be overcome. So I’m going to go back a little bit to some data that isn’t just focused on the tertiary education numbers. So we’ll look at a couple of global data points. All of these numbers are actually drawn from UNHCR’s Global Trends report, which they publish annually. And they collect data from across the globe, across many, many countries that host refugees. So when it comes to the number of youth who are actually eligible for higher education opportunities in refugee contexts, this chart, as you can see, does not tell a very promising story. Sixty-eight percent of refugees have access to primary education. This is compared to a global average of about 91 percent for primary school. So there’s a big gap there. When it comes to secondary education, we’re looking at about 37 percent of refugees accessing secondary education, compared to a global average of about 84 percent. And then, of course, when we get to tertiary, which I’ll come back to, we’re looking at 5 to 6 percent, compared to a global average of about 37 percent. And as you can see here from this slide, the enrollment numbers drop off precipitously after primary education. And this happens for a number of reasons. It could be caretaking of younger siblings, wage-earning possibilities, a sense of hopelessness that education actually isn’t opening up opportunities, hearing from bigger brothers and sisters and others that a university education, while it might have been possible for a refugee, resulted in no additional livelihood opportunity within a camp setting. And for girls, of course, there are additional barriers—early marriage, safety concerns, cultural barriers. Second, I would say that—and as indicated by this chart too—that the quality of K-12 education is often very poor in displacement contexts. Primary and secondary education for refugees is most frequently treated as an emergency response, so as a kind of temporary stopgap measure before the refugees are repatriated. But we also know that the average refugee status lasts around two decades, which is a number that extends far beyond the typical school years. So treating primary and secondary as an emergency response is actually—it’s very damaging. When education is treated like this, as a humanitarian issue, what partners end up doing is they end up setting up special schools in parallel systems. So you can see here on the slide, I note three different ways in which emergency response education plays out at the K-12 level. Partially integrated systems, like what you have in a case like Jordan where students in some cases are in what are called second-shift schools. The refugees go in the afternoons. The host communities go during the day. Often there are less-qualified teachers teaching the afternoon. Jordan’s trying to move away from that, slowly, slowly. But it’s just an example. A parallel system is like an example of what Kenya does, where all of the students in the K-12 system go through the Kenyan national curriculum, but the teachers are actually employed by NGOs. And they have no training, or virtually no training, and they also do not have the—they don’t have the Ministry of Education pay scale. So they’re treated like what we call incentive workers. They make about $110 a month. And then we have the example of an informal system, which is probably the weakest of all. And an example of that is what we have in the Cox’s Bazar camps for the Rohingya in Bangladesh, where the students actually, up until recently, were completely blocked from attending any kind of formal school system. And they were attending four levels only of a curriculum that was designed by the British Council. So very few host countries actually allow for inclusive educational opportunities in which refugee education is fully embedded into the host country education system. And an inclusive system would really mean that teacher quality, school infrastructure, financing, access to learning materials, and other resources are the same for all students, citizens, residents, and refugees alike. And of course, refugee students before they get to tertiary often need even more support beyond what is needed by the host community. They need assessment of prior learning when their certificates are not verifiable, when they’re coming from another country. They might need language learning and will certainly need psychosocial support. So this is the—this is a major barrier leading up to the attempt to get more students into higher education. And even for those who do make it, and the numbers have slowly crept up, there are significant and often paralyzing barriers to actually accessing or being successful in these tertiary education environments. Language is one of them. Most refugees are displaced to countries in which the language of instruction is different from their own. And graduation from secondary school in that country of first asylum does not necessarily mean academic fluency, as many of these refugee contexts are in rote learning environments. Even in places where refugees do speak the same language as their hosts, such as Syrians in Jordan, there are limited higher education opportunities for refugees in, for example, Jordan, in the country of first asylum. So in many cases, even if they make it through the secondary school system in their native language, they still have to learn another language to be competitive in a tertiary environment. There’s a major skills gap, especially when applying to university programs more so than TVET or some of the other certificates or diplomas. Between interrupted education and poor-quality opportunities in host countries, even the brightest youth often lack the necessary skills. And this could be as simple as they don’t have the basic ICT skills to fill out a college application. They don’t have the ability to frame and promote themselves. They don’t have the confidence to do so. They don’t have the content knowledge to pass entrance exams, not to mention the more advanced skills like critical thinking and academic writing. Navigating the system is a major barrier. Lack of access to quality information on higher education opportunities and scholarships. Refugees often have to rely heavily on word of mouth, on social media, on WhatsApp groups, on NGOs and informal networks in order to know where they can get access to higher education. And most of them, even when they identify that opportunity, they don’t have the support in understanding the application procedures, the prerequisites, how to obtain study visas if they need them, or how to even arrange for recognition of prior learning. And then finally, I mean, there’s the obvious one of limitation on numbers of scholarships and places for study. Opportunities in host communities are extremely limited. And this often has a very politicized aspect to it, you know, where refugees sometimes are treated as foreign students. Like in Jordan, where they have to pay foreign tuition. And then there’s the issue of the possibility of, say, complementary education pathways, where they go to a third country but many of the scholarships out there right now don’t have a durable solution attached to them. So a student may go to study in another country, but there’s no sustainable post-graduation option for them. And they risk being left in kind of an administrative limbo, which is a serious protection risk. So as you can see, in spite of these many barriers the numbers have gone up over the past few years. Since the Global Refugee Forum in 2019, we have been able to move from 3 percent to 6 percent, which is not insignificant. But the goal of reaching 15 percent by 2030 is a lofty one, especially considering that almost 90 percent of the world’s refugee population is hosted by developing countries. So just to give a kind of comparative data point, in places like sub-Saharan Africa, the enrollment rate of non-refugee youth in higher education across the region still hovers only around 9 percent. So if we’re trying to get to 15 percent with the refugee population, we also need to think about the host community. And this is another sort of political issue that comes up a lot. So there are many different actors working in the field to address some of these barriers to reach the goal of 15by30. There are foundations providing significant funding for scholarships for displaced learners. MasterCard Foundation, Education Above All, some of which you might have heard of. There are regional actors working to open places for learners at national universities and countries of first asylum. I live in Kenya. I’m talking to you from Nairobi. We have a network here called the African Higher Education Network. And then there’s another network that works in Africa that is called the Men’s Network, that works primarily in francophone Africa. And they work on complementary education pathways. So there’s lots of actors doing lots of work. And then there are networks that are working along multiple lines and with diverse actors, such as the network I work for. And I’m going to talk a little bit about what OSUN has done just for a couple of minutes, and what makes us unique in our ability to support the opening of higher education opportunities for refugees. So OSUN is a truly global network. We have representation on almost every continent. Partners are quite diverse, including higher education and research institutions. All of them are at various stages of their own institutional development, but all of them also share a set of similar values, including a commitment to open society and also to collaboratively addressing inequality. Because we work horizontally across partners, we’re able to support new and continued educational access in both emergent and protracted crises. And it’s important to keep both emergent and protracted crises in mind. When we have, you know, the news inundating us with Ukraine and Afghanistan, there are many refugees who have been displaced for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years. So we do a lot of work as well through connected learning programs, also by supporting student movement to institutions across our network for the purposes of education. And, luckily, we also work in countries of first asylum, where we might be able to take students into national universities. And when it comes to emergent crises, networks are a really important contributor. Not just OSUN, but all networks. In our case, we’re capable of mobilizing human and financial resources for really rapid response. And we’ve done this in three different—three very different contexts over the past nineteen months, with Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. For example, we were able to support over two hundred students from Afghanistan to continue their education after displacement. Still a drop in the bucket, though. And by working across multiple partners, we’re also able to support students in the more protracted situations in Africa, the Middle East, and Bangladesh. In urban settings and in refugee camps, which are the places where I work. As Irina mentioned, I direct something called the OSUN Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives. And we have what’s called the Refugee Higher Education Access Program, which is a bridging program. It takes about fifteen to eighteen months and it’s really intended to prepare students to really be ready to go into any academic English-language university program. Critical thinking, writing, analysis. All of these things they’re not getting in their very poorly equipped secondary schools. And some of the content knowledge upskilling that’s needed. So working within our network, these students are also eventually integrated into classrooms alongside matriculated students at campuses across the globe. And this has an added benefit for those students of humanizing the refugee student and exposing them—exposing the non-refugee matriculated students—to the very different perspectives that the refugees can bring. So even these very diverse networks can only impact a finite number of students. But what they can do, and the reason I’m mentioning networks—and what OSUN is working hard to do—is really to create models that can be locally contextualized, and also replicable in other contexts and by other institutions. Likewise, I mentioned earlier UNHCR’s Each One Take One campaign. Again, a catchy little slogan, but once a university sets up a system for one student, it becomes much easier to take in many more. Universities realize it’s possible. And in the context of the American system, there’s going to be the opening of a new refugee category—a visa category in the coming months, which some of your universities—if you’re dialing in from the States—might be involved in down the line. And the initial pilot will be asking universities to just take one or two students through a complementary pathway, with the intention that it would be scaled up over time. So I guess one question is, why should we be putting so much emphasis on higher education for refugees? And, first, I would say there’s the moral imperative. Many of us who work for universities have social missions attached to our universities. And we try to emphasize this element, of course, with our institutions and also with other university actors. But beyond that, there are many other players who need to be convinced at this importance of this, particularly governments, state actors, people that we deal with a lot on the ground. And we need to make a different argument there. The moral imperative does not hold weight for them. We need to show them that educating refugees is a good investment of human and financial resources. And as actors in the refugee education space, I believe we really need to think of higher education as an instrument that fosters growth, reduces poverty, and boosts shared prosperity, not only for the individual receiving the education but for the country in which the individual is residing. We can clearly articulate the global gains of tertiary graduates, OK. So we have that data. And I’m sure many of you are familiar with this. For example, some of the World Bank data shows that tertiary education graduates—and not just refugees—experience a 17 percent increase in their earnings. In sub-Saharan Africa, which of course is hard hit by many refugee crises, it’s a 21 percent increase in earnings for tertiary education graduates. So in addition to wage-earning capacity, there’s data indicating that tertiary education graduates are more environmentally conscious, they have healthier habits, they have a higher level of civic participation. So when refugees, if we expend that argument, are allowed to study and work in host—in third countries, they have the potential to contribute to societies and economies. So there needs to be a lot more data collection on this, in order to make a convincing case. But I’m going to give a couple of quick examples before I end, upon which we could base an argument for opening higher education opportunities and increasing potential earning power. So when refugees travel to Canada for higher education through complementary pathways, they’re granted permanent residency upon arrival. The World University Service of Canada, WUSC, leads on this movement of refugee students between countries of first asylum and Canada. And they’ve been able to show that 90 percent of the refugees who were brought into their universities contribute to the economy as taxpayers within several months after graduation. They too need more data on actually what the numbers are. In 2017, the U.S. government completed a study that looked at a period that’s now a little bit distant, they need to update this, but 2005 to 2014. And what they found is that while resettling refugees can cost thousands of dollars in the first couple of years, the tax contributions outweigh the cost. So during the period studied, the federal government spent approximately 206 billion on refugees. And yet, over that same period the refugees contributed more than 269 billion in tax revenue. So that’s a positive—net positive economic tax contribution of 63 billion. And then finally, if we’re looking beyond first-world countries, refugees often send remittances back to their country of origin. And one example is Liberia, which is a big refugee providing country. And about 18.5 percent of their GDP comes from remittances abroad. So I’ll just conclude by saying that, there’s a couple of things that we need to—we need to do to promote further access. One is, we need to be thinking differently about how to prepare youth in the countries that—the countries of first asylum, before they get to the tertiary level. What’s happening now with the donor community, there’s a lot of investment in primary education. There’s a lot of attention on tertiary. And secondary is just being left out. Teachers are not trained. Students are just falling behind. And then we have this major drop off of ability before they can get to tertiary. We also need to rethink refugee participation. Those of us who work on the ground, we think we’re always including refugee voices. We need to do a lot more on that. The refugees themselves are the experts in what their informal economies look like. So in many countries they can’t work legally, but they have informal economies. What do they really need to be studying? What skills do they need? We need to be tapping that. And UNHCR’s working on a kind of refugee-led mentoring program that might tackle some of this. And then finally, the last point I would make is that we really need to create pathways and pipelines between different higher education institutions and programs. We need to include connected opportunities, scholarships in countries of first asylum, and also third-country opportunities so that students can move between degree possibilities, like any of us would, who want to get a higher education. So there needs to be options out there. So I think I’ll end there and turn it back to Irina. FASKIANOS: That was fantastic. Thank you so much, Rebecca. And we’re going to turn to all of you now for your questions and comments. You can share what you’re doing and your thoughts. (Gives queuing instructions.) So the first question is from Patricia McCormick, who I think is at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, because she says she hopes you will reach out to her. How are universities contacted to admit refugee services? Who pays for the housing and tuition of refugee students? GRANATO: I think I had a moment of internet instability. Can you hear me, Irina? FASKIANOS: I can hear you now, yes. So start at the top. Did you hear the question? GRANATO: I think it’s the question that’s in the Q&A, how are universities contacted to admit refugee students? FASKIANOS: It is. GRANATO: OK. Sorry about that. Sometimes Kenya has unstable internet. If you can’t hear me, please let me know. Flag it. FASKIANOS: I will. GRANATO: So that’s a good question. Admitting refugee students. So in the U.S. right now there isn’t currently what we call a durable solution. That’s what’s being designed. In order for those of us who work in the field to responsibly send refugees to countries—to what we call third countries, there really needs to be a legal framework in place so that they can remain after. Once refugees leave camp settings, they’re often not allowed to go back. So what that means is they become not only stateless but they become campless. They’re statusless. They’re in this kind of administrative limbo, was the term I used earlier. So when—the U.S. is currently designing this process that many of us are very involved in. And what will happen is a coalition of NGOs will reach out to universities and try to find interest in universities taking in students. The question, though, you had was about all the wraparound services, because many universities are often willing to forgive tuition. I know in OSUN we do that all time. But there are so many other costs associated with bringing a refugee student to another country. There’s the cost of the flight, the cost of the visa, the housing, the living stipend, all of that. So some of that’s going to be covered by the U.S. government during this pilot, but really what needs to be looked at is what a more sustainable mechanism is for this. And there are different ways it’s done in different parts of the world. So in Canada, they use a—they use a community sponsorship model. So sometimes—well, they do two things. The community sponsorship model, and what’s called the student levy. I don’t think this would work in the U.S. But the student levy, there’s also money put on the tuition bill—like a dollar or two dollars—on every single tuition bill. And that money goes to cover refugee students at a given institution. And community sponsorship involves the community coming together and identifying pots of money that can be used for these wraparound services. And then, of course, universities need to also spend both human and financial resources on building out what’s needed in terms of the structures on campus to support these students, because there’s always legal advising, there’s psychosocial support, there’s all of the upskilling that might not have happened on the end when they’re being sent from their country of first asylum into the third country. I hope that answers your question. But if institutions are interested, though, you should pay attention to what’s coming, because there will be a call for interest for universities to participate in this new refugee visa category pilot program. And you can also contact me. I’ll be—I’ll know what’s going on and be involved in some ways, too. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to a raised hand from Beth. And you’ll need to share your last name and your affiliation. If you can unmute yourself, that would be great, or accept the prompt. Q: Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: OK, great. My name’s Elizabeth, I go by Beth, Bryant. I’m with Texas State Technical College. I’m on a campus about twenty miles from the Texas-Mexico border. We specialize in associate degrees and technical training for occupations that are in demand in Texas, of course, since we’re such a big economy, and, you know, other places—wind technology, cybersecurity, nursing, education, things like that. I teach state and federal government. We’re all online now. Some of the technical courses have hybrid classes. So my first question is, I know the definition in the dictionary of a refugee, but one of the things that we face here is just an influx of people from Mexico and Central and South America that are not necessarily fleeing war or famine. I think those folks, it’s easy to look at them as a refugee. What we have here are folks that are fleeing economic crises, societal unrest. I have two immigration lawyer friends who I used to help students whenever I can, and they’ve been very generous. One story is a guy got sent back to Honduras when he finally had his trial, was not granted asylum, and was killed two weeks later. So that’s what we’re dealing with here. It’s like an administrative backlog and these people are fleeing difficulty, but it’s hard to get them classified as a refugee. And with the backlog, with the administrative courts that determine asylum, has people just sort of hanging out for two years, and then they make their way into the country and the best they can do is get a job washing dishes at a restaurant, or working at South Padre Island cleaning hotel rooms. So all these countries that you mentioned, it’s easy to see. But for us here on the border, we have a difficult time actually thinking of some of these immigrants—some of these immigrants as refugees. So in order to access what OSUN is doing, how can—what are some of your thoughts on that? And then, just to follow that up, access to technology. Access to the computers. I have students that are trying to do their assignments on a smartphone because they don’t have a computer. We do have funds. We try to get them to those students to help them. These may be first-generation Americans or immigrants. So the technology, the digital divide, is really wide with this group. And this is in our own country. This isn’t a first or second world issue. This is a—I mean, a second or third world issue. This is—this is right here in the United States. And it is a—it is a big problem, because we can’t get these folks to that next level because of the classification and because of the access to technology. So just—just some thoughts on how we could work with our administration, here at TSTC on that. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. GRANATO: Those are big questions. They’re really big questions. I would say, what you pointed to, Beth, of this person who ended up being sent back to, I think it was Honduras you said, and killed, I mean, that’s exactly—when we’re thinking about more traditional refugee pathways, I think there’s also a consideration there that needs to apply to immigrants into the United States. I guess, illegal immigrants. I’m not sure I know the politically correct term for the U.S. right now. But that kind of unofficial immigration into the U.S., because asylum does take a long time, and often fails, and then it leaves people in, again, this kind of limbo where they end up having to go back to a place where it’s not safe. So having that legal framework planned out in advance before taking students into an institution is really—I think that’s just a—that’s an important starting point. I think that was one of your points, but your other point is really about this technological gap. And I guess what I’m not sure I’m understanding, Beth, is, are these students—they’re enrolling in your university as fully matriculated students? Q: Yes. Yes, they’re—I mean, TSTC has open enrollment. And, you know, I’ve taught DREAMers before, who came over here when they were babies because their mother was fleeing, you know, economic insecurity, et cetera. And then I have, you know, people who have—who have migrated. It’s not hard to do. And we take them. And we try to get them into an English as a second language course, et cetera. But it’s—now that so much—even if my courses weren’t online, you still have to have a computer to complete higher education. I mean, period. It’s one of the things that I noticed. I mean, when I tell my students I had to type all my research papers on a typewriter, it freaks them out, you know? And so there are funds available, since we’re a state institution. We’re state-funded. The state of Texas funds us. So we do have access to funds to try to get the computers to those that need them. But it’s coming out of hiding, interacting with the government. A lot of my students won’t apply for the funds because they’re scared. And they’re bright people. Mexico has a pretty good secondary education system. So do you see that as an issue with the people that you deal with? And how do you— FASKIANOS: And then we’ll—if you could take a crack at that, and then we have several other questions. We’ll move on. GRANATO: One of the—one of the things we do, though, is we really work with our faculty on adjusting assignments so that the assignments work in these lower-resource settings, so that students don’t have to have a computer. There actually is quite a bit that students can’t do on their phones. And students—we find that our students, who are very used to not having access to technology, are very adept at being creative in how they’re going to get some of these assignments done. They often handwrite them, and then they’ll type them up in WhatsApp, you know. But we do a lot of faculty work around how to kind of adjust content so that it works in the environment, because you can’t—we simply can’t provide a computer for every student. That would be an unsustainable model. So faculty development is one way we grapple with it. And then upskilling the students so that they know how to kind of adjust and how to be flexible. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to next to a written question from Dr. Damian Odunze. Does the refugee education program include internally displaced persons, especially in countries in East and West Africa? Is there a collaboration between your organization and local communities? And Dr. Odunze’s with Delta State University in Cleveland, Missouri. GRANATO: Thanks, Dr. Damian. So, yes, we do—we do work with internally displaced students, and many other programs in the region do as well. I would say that, in terms—when you ask about collaboration with local institutions, we—at least from the perspective of OSUN. I can speak from OSUN’s perspective. We attempt to collaborate with local universities here. And there’s a lot less flexibility with local institutions, say in Kenya, in terms of the ways in which refugees are credentialed, the ways in which their qualifications are kind of framed, than there would be with, say, an online program in the United States or even a third-country pathway. There’s often just more flexibility with foreign institutions. So we try to work on opening opportunities for students here with local institutions, but the other ways in which we work with local institutions is we do a lot of work with refugee-led organizations. And those refugee-led organizations work with us on developing the contextualized programming. It also builds their capacity. So some of our attempt at local work is also just with sort of organizations that have been developed by the refugees themselves, which are also educationally oriented, but not higher education institutions. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And just to correct myself, Delta State University is in Cleveland, Mississippi. My apologies. So I’m going to go next to Candace Laughinghouse. Q: Good afternoon. Well, first, thank you for this presentation. It’s really opened my eyes to a lot. I teach at a HBCU, St. Augustine’s University. And we have students—it’s in Raleigh, North Carolina. We have a lot of international students I was unaware of until I joined the faculty. And a lot of that is through the Episcopal Church. Because the school is an Episcopal University. But I just had some questions. And I’m wondering, in our attempts to provide education to students—I’m going to do some research further myself—I was just wondering, also as a—probably because as—(inaudible)—and the importance of listening to our language as instructors—because I actually have to engage in this with some professors in addressing our larger student population of African American students—is, I guess, educating our language and how we’re creating a community to transform. It reminds me of a book by bell hooks called Teaching to Transgress. And a lot of that—and what I’m hearing some of the questions, and some of the things I know, things are sometimes kind of intention or not being aware of addressing certain things. But how does it impact a student’s learning? Because we often feel that the desire to learn just makes us all equal. These students want to come learn, but then even when I just use the language these students, like, you know, what does it—how does it impact our ability to teach and the students’ ability to learn at whatever level, when they are pretty much labeled and categorized in the different areas I’ve heard? Like, you’re an immigrant. You’re a DREAMer. You’re a—you know? That definitely has an impact, even when—I have three small children. And one went through some troubles because of COVID. And they’re even in private school. So the learning development for my youngest was a challenge. But even then, at a private institution, I had to address how she was then being labeled immediately by performance or labeled by even from where she comes from. So I was wondering, has there been any sort of investment or consideration of this type of thing? Because that does—wouldn’t you agree that that would impact, one, a teacher’s ability to teach at a certain level, and also a student’s connection with receiving the education, if you have these labels that are, like, these folks, those people, these refugees, do they deserve this? Instead of, these are young adults experiencing refugee status. These are young adults—because then it reclaims the humanity of them. Just like my girls know, I’m African American, our ancestors were not slaves. They were enslaved. Because we are aware now of what that denotes when you place labels. So I was wondering, has there been any sort of inquiry into that? Because I really believe that that could be a strong—there could be a correlation to the outcome of these programs as well, and how we are addressing the students. Because it kind of places a barrier between us and these young adults. GRANATO: I think it’s a really excellent question. And, again, an area that needs more research, especially when we’re talking about integrating displaced learners into—primarily into environments where the majority of students are not displaced. So a student going to your university, for example, there by necessity needs to be an awareness of the context of where this person came from, at least among the staff, administrators, and faculty, because they will bring with them—they will bring with them a certain experience that needs attention. Definitely trauma that might or might not need attention, but legal questions that will need attention. So that has to be—there has to be awareness. But the question of how they are perceived by their classmates and the ways in which they kind of categorize themselves, I mean, I certainly can’t speak for the refugee population. But I’ve heard a number of our students speak to when they go to third countries and they enroll in universities, where they’re not surrounded by their compatriots in the same way. And they don’t want to identify as refugees. They don’t want to be labeled that way. They want to be identified as students. Now, what kind of psychological studies have been done on that, I think that’s an area that’s somewhat under-researched still. But there’s—I think there’s a difference between awareness and labeling too. And that awareness is critical in these university settings, where these students are going to come with a very different set of needs and requirements. Q: OK. So I guess—I guess my only question is—and you’re seeing what I’m saying about research. So is that something separate from what you’re doing? That cannot be integrated into the praxis in what your—and the pedagogy in which you’re—which you brilliantly presented earlier? Because I’m saying that that is a huge impact. Because we can have all the tools to say, hey, this can work, and this can work, and this can work. But something like that, in its—you know, it has a huge impact. And I’m not just speaking for the students, because the students, yeah, they bring their own things. But I’m talking about—I’m speaking as an educator. And as educators, how that can be perhaps—or, not perhaps—how that should be included in faculty around what you’re addressing. But thank you for letting me ask the question. GRANATO: Yeah. And I mean, I think you’re absolutely right. And, the work that we do with students in the bridging program, again, this is my example from the context I work in, we do a lot of work, you know, you mentioned bell hooks. We do a lot of work in trying to get the students to think – to think about content and ideas outside of their own contexts. And yet, they’re very much in their context there. And the label in a camp is important to them. They use it. You know, in their camp setting, it becomes a tool. But that’s very different when they’re then removed from that kind of majority area, where everybody is the same as them. So, no, I mean, you’re raising a really important question, and one that needs to be thought of, especially in third countries. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Sana Tayyen, who’s at the University of Redlands in California. When developed countries, like Sweden and Germany, accept refugees, do they usually have an agenda as to the types of jobs and pathways they want refugees to end up in? Not 100 percent sure on this, but I’ve heard of Syrian refugees being brought into Sweden to fill service jobs for an aging population. Will higher education cater to government agendas? GRANATO: It’s a good question. So the path—this question is really about what we would call third country pathways, where refugees are moved from a country of first asylum to a third country for the purposes of higher education. I think that’s what you’re asking, Sana. You know, in the programs that we work with, as OSUN but also OSUN co-chairs what is called the Global Taskforce on Third Country Higher Education Pathways, we work with institutions and governments that don’t have that agenda. Promoting an agenda like that, that refugees should be coming in to fill a particular service, undermines the purpose of higher education and the mission of a higher education opening up possibility. So if you look at Germany, higher education pathways, students can come in and they can study—they can study anything at an institution that they’re accepted to. They have to be accepted to the institution. In France, it’s the same. There are many different options that the students can choose from in terms of majors. The important part is that they have the ability to work after, and that their ability to work—that their work permit allows them to work across sectors. So those are the pathways that are under development. And those are the ones that we, for example, support. I’m not—I don’t know about that case you’re referring to in Sweden. I can’t really speak to that because I’m not sure. But I can’t imagine that’s 100 percent accurate, but I will look that up. FASKIANOS: Great. So next question from Ellen Chesler. Can you speak in more detail about OSUN’s program for Afghan refugee students at Bard College in the U.S. and the American University of Central Asia in Tashkent? And how are these programs going? GRANATO: So Bard took in—Bard, and our partner, American University of Central Asia, took in a number of students, it’s around two hundred, into BA and MA programs. The number will go up. There will be another intake. The program is partially—the scholarships are partially funded by Bard itself. You know, we do tuition remission. AUCA does tuition remission. There’s donors that contribute. I guess how is it going? It’s been a heavy lift. You know, it’s very different from bringing in international students. And international students, they’re already quite complicated to bring into a university setting, as you all well know. But bringing in the Afghan students into America was particularly complicated because we don’t yet have this refugee visa category. So the students came in through referrals, the P4 process—sorry—the P3 process. But many of them came in on student visas. And student visas are not a sustainable mechanism. They only last for the duration of the degree. So now what Bard is trying to do is figure out what’s next for these students. And we’re having to do it on a case-by-case basis. You know, figuring out what’s going to happen to them after, what kind of legal status they’re going to have. Are they going to claim asylum and be stuck in that system, and not be able to work? Are they going to be able to transition to some kind of residency? And this is all because this special refugee visa category does not exist yet. Next year, hopefully, it will be a very different scenario. At the American University if Central Asia, it’s also had a different set of struggles. I know that the university there has struggled with a lot of—a lot of trauma. I mean, there’s been a lot of psychosocial issues that have come up, and a lot of issues with students attending classes, because they’re really struggling. And the university—Bard and AUCA, you know, it’s a bit lift to equip your staff with the extra skills they need to deal with this, and the extra staffing you need. I mean, you need more people. And it happened so quickly that I feel like there’s been kind of a catch up. So I think—I hope that answers your question. I’m not sure if your question was how is it going was a different one, but I hope that answers it. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have two more questions I’d love to get in, from Dr. Adegbola Ojo, who’s at the University of Leeds in the UK. Apart from financial remittances, is there evidence of other forms of positives, e.g., brain gain, in home countries resulting in the human capital flight of refugees? GRANATO: When you say “home countries,” do you mean their countries of origin, or do you mean the countries they are going to becoming their home countries. FASKIANOS: Right. I’m not sure. Dr. Ojo, do you want to unmute and clarify? Because I read exactly what was in the question. (Laughs.) Q: Yes. Yes, thank you very much. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Q: Yeah, yeah. It’s countries of origin. GRANATO: Countries of origin. Q: Yes. GRANATO: That’s a good question. And, again, it’s an understudied area. The number—you know, an understudied area of people who have gone and sought an education, gone from a third country—sorry—a country of first asylum, to a third country for education, who have then gone back. I don’t actually know the exact numbers. I don’t know what the exact numbers are of people who might have gotten a university education—say, in the UK—and then they return to their country of origin. I imagine it’s quite small. So I don’t—and there aren’t studies on that particular question. When it comes to brain gain, of course, most refugees who leave, say, a camp-based setting, they don’t—the vast majority do not go back to the camp. Most of them can’t. In Kenya, you can return to a camp. In a place like Cox’s Bazar you wouldn’t be able to. In a place like Rwanda, you could. So it’s different in every—in every place. In Jordan, you wouldn’t be able to return. So it would also be difficult to track if people return what kind of impact it would have because most of them actually don’t. Most of them remain in the country that they go to educate—to be educated. But it would be interesting to look at the numbers that return to their countries of origin, and what that net brain gain is. I think it’s a really good question. I’m sorry I don’t have an answer. Q: Well, thank you. I do think that that would be a knowledge gap there, and potentially area for further research. Yeah, something to think about. GRANATO: It’s a good research question, yeah. Q: Thank you. GRANATO: What I can say—although, maybe there’s another question. I was going to add something, but maybe— FASKIANOS: No. No, go ahead. Just have a—go ahead. GRANATO: OK. I was just going to say, it’s a little different from your question about brain gain, but there have been some recent studies on refugees who don’t leave the camp but get an education, and have a degree, and then actually have really no very pronounced livelihood opportunity that’s connected to their degree. And some of those studies have looked about the increase in things like depression and anxiety. And the sort of negative impacts of higher education, when then there’s no livelihood opportunity that really is connected to the degree itself. So I know it’s different from your question, but just it made me think of it. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So we’ll take the final question from Sneha Bharadwaj, who’s a professor at Texas Woman’s University. How can we get involved in this mission? So that’s a good question to end on, on what administrators and educators can do in their own institutions. GRANATO: So I think there’s a couple of things. First, I’ve already mentioned a few times that there will be this initiative in the U.S., and of course, Texas Woman’s University would be an institution that could participate in this, with this new refugee visa category and taking students in from countries of first asylum. But that’s going to still be a very small number. I mean, the vast majority of refugees will not be traveling for third-country opportunities. The vast majority will need to be educated in their country of first asylum. And, you know, offering online opportunities for students is always something that refugees are interested in, in camp-based settings. We find that online opportunities really only work if there’s also some infrastructure on the ground to support them. Very remote instruction, often, there’s just major attrition. But if you have online offerings, you could come together with other partners, you could think about ways that you could offer some kind of online degree, if that’s something that your institution is accredited for. Again, getting back to this network idea. Networks of institutions can do that collaboratively, so it’s not as much of a heavy lift. There’s always opportunities as well, and need, in refugee settings for additional research to be done, and for collaboration on things like faculty development inside camp settings, and training of teaching assistants. Those are also areas where there’s quite a bit of need. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Well, we are at the end of our time. So I thank you for taking your evening—giving your evening to us, Rebecca. You are in Nairobi, so it’s late there. And to all of you for being with us, and for your questions and comments. We really appreciate it. GRANATO: Thank you. Thank you for having me. FASKIANOS: You can follow Rebecca Granato on Twitter at @rebecca_granato. And you will receive an invitation to our next Higher Education Webinar shortly. But in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Thank you, again, for joining us today. And we look forward to your continued participation in the Higher Education Webinar Series. (END)
  • Lebanon
    A Conversation With Foreign Minister Abdallah BouHabib of Lebanon
    Foreign Minister Abdallah BouHabib discusses the relationship between Lebanon and the West, especially in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine, global humanitarian issues including refugees and food insecurity, and the future of Lebanon’s economy.
  • Climate Change
    The Crisis of the Century: How the United States Can Protect Climate Migrants
    The disastrous effects of climate change could displace more than a billion people in the next thirty years. International and domestic legal systems cannot continue to let climate migrants slip through the cracks.
  • Immigration and Migration
    Uproar Over Britain’s Rwanda Asylum Plan Overlooks Nagging Issues in Illegal Migration
    Support for immigration in the West must be balanced with concern about governance in African countries. 
  • Refugees and Displaced Persons
    Ukraine, Humanitarian Parole, and Refugee Resettlement
    Kelly A. Gauger, deputy director in the Office of Refugee Admissions at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and Kit Taintor, vice president of policy and practice at Welcome.US and former refugee coordinator for the state of Colorado, discuss the Uniting for Ukraine program, humanitarian parole, and best practices for welcoming and supporting refugees in communities across the country.    TRANSCRIPT FASKIANOS: Thank you, and welcome to the Council on Foreign Relations State and Local Officials Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president for the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. We’re delighted to have participants from forty-seven states and territories to discuss “Ukraine, Humanitarian Parole, and Refugee Resettlement.” Our discussion is on the record. CFR is an independent and nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, publisher, and educational institution focusing on U.S. foreign policy. CFR is also the publisher of Foreign Affairs magazine, and CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. Through our State and Local Officials Initiative, CFR serves as a resource on international issues affecting the priorities and agendas of state and local governments by providing analysis on a wide range of policy topics. So we are so delighted to have Kelly Gauger and Kit Taintor with us today. We’ve shared their bios with you so I will give you a few highlights. Kelly Gauger is the deputy director in the Office of Refugee Admissions at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Her work includes oversight of the administration’s annual report to Congress on proposed refugee admissions, development of the bureau’s budget for the Refugee Admissions Program, and managing oversight of its seven resettlement support centers worldwide. She also helps manage the bureau’s relationship with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and Refugee Resettlement colleagues, and governments around the world. Kit Taintor is vice president of policy and practice at Welcome.US, a national nonprofit initiative designed to empower Americans from across the country to welcome and support those seeking refuge in the United States. She previously served as refugee coordinator for the state of Colorado and specialized in efforts related to refugee and community integration such as employment, social and emotional wellness, and community empowerment. She also served as the senior advisor for New American Integration in the office of Colorado Governor Jared Polis. So thank you both for being with us today. Kelly, I thought we could begin with you. We saw on March 24 President Biden’s announcement welcoming a hundred thousand Ukrainians to the U.S. Maybe you could begin by telling us how we are doing with that commitment and talk about the different pathways that Ukrainians can make their way to the U.S., given the war in their country. GAUGER: Thank you, Irina, and good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining us. Sure. So let me talk about that announcement from President Biden. That number, which, by the way, is not a set limit—we may end up welcoming more than a hundred thousand Ukrainians. It may be less, depending on how many are interested. There are two primary pathways for Ukrainians to seek protection, either temporary or permanent, in the United States. Following that announcement on March 24, on April 21 the president and, more importantly, the Department of Homeland Security announced a program called Uniting for Ukraine that allows individuals in the United States—and it’s a broad range of individuals; it’s not actually even just citizens but people who are lawfully present in the United States—can file an affidavit of support for a Ukrainian overseas who is outside of Ukraine and has fled the Russian war of aggression. And then once—this is a brand new program that the Department of Homeland Security stood up in record time, as far as I’m aware, and then allows—once the sponsors or the supporters in the United States are vetted in terms of their ability to support Ukrainians for some period of time in the United States and there is a bit of a background check as well to protect against trafficking and other such issues, then the Ukrainian overseas is able to complete their part of the application—it’s all online—and then receive, eventually, permission to travel to the United States and it gives them permission to board an airplane to the United States. DHS has relationships with airlines that, you know, facilitates this permission. The person arrives at port of entry and Customs and Border Protection makes the final decision to parole the individuals into the United States. I was on a call yesterday with DHS and they reported out some interesting statistics. So far, about thirty-seven thousand U for U supporters in the United States have filed applications indicating their interest to support a Ukrainian. As of yesterday, a little over twenty thousand Ukrainians had been given authorization to travel and, again, as of yesterday three thousand two hundred and twelve Ukrainian parolees had arrived and been given humanitarian parole at port of entry by CBP. So I think some people are a little surprised that although there are twenty thousand authorizations only three thousand have arrived. That actually mirrors what both Canada and the U.K. have seen, who have announced similar programs. They actually announced similar programs before we did. We’re a little bit behind Canada and the U.K., but they also have a relatively lagging uptake in travel authorizations when you look at actual travel, and a lot of people think that that’s because a lot of Ukrainians are applying for these permissions to travel to our three countries but not necessarily intending to travel right away but to kind of have it in their back pocket as—you know, if things drag on in Ukraine and/or get worse that they can take advantage of the travel authorization. So we’ll see how long that delta of the twenty thousand authorizations and the three thousand actual arrivals persists. OK. That’s Uniting for Ukraine. That’s a Department of Homeland Security program. I’m with the Department of State and we operate the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. We have been admitting Ukrainians and other nationalities of the former Soviet Union to the United States for many decades through a program called the Lautenberg Program, which is based on a piece of legislation that was passed by Congress in 1989 called the Lautenberg Amendment that lowered the evidentiary standards for religious minorities from the former Soviet Union seeking resettlement in the United States. So they don’t have to show a well-founded fear of persecution. They have to show that they’re a member of the protected group, and it’s a much lower evidentiary standard. It leads to a much higher approval rate, close to 100 percent, actually. So when that program was established in 1989 it was, largely, used by Russian Jews to get to the United States. These days, it is more commonly used by Ukrainian evangelical Christians and others. So we have long had this program that we’ve operated. It used to be based in Moscow until about five or six years ago when it became difficult for our partner, the International Organization for Migration, to operate in Moscow. So we moved the base of our operations to Kyiv about—I think it was about six or seven years ago, something like that. And so it’s one of our in-country programs. We have a clause in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program that allows us to do in-country processing when authorized by the president, and the president has every year authorized in-country processing throughout the former Soviet Union. So this was an in-country program. When the war began we had about eighteen thousand Ukrainians in our Lautenberg pipeline, meaning anyone ranging from people who had just had an application submitted on their behalf the day before to about to get on an airplane. So a wide range of people throughout the Lautenberg pipeline. I should mention Lautenbergs also have to have a relative in the United States to file an application for them to come through the Lautenberg Program. So we—now that program has grown and we now have about twenty-four thousand Ukrainians in the pipeline. Some of those applications are so new we haven’t even really entered them and looked at them yet. But we only currently know the location of about twenty-five hundred of those twenty-four thousand people. We believe many of them are still in Ukraine where we actually can’t process them, but a number of them have come out and have notified us of their location. So we had to temporarily shut down our office in Kyiv. We’ve relocated to Chișinău, Moldova, and we are also about to open another office in Warsaw—in Poland—because the largest number of Lautenbergs for whom we know their location outside of Kyiv are based in Poland and there are a little over a thousand of them in Poland. So we are continuing to operate this program albeit with limited staff because none of the male Ukrainian staff of our resettlement support center have been permitted to leave Kyiv. So it’s only been the female staff who have been allowed to leave and move to Moldova and Poland. We’re hiring new staff to help them out. This resettlement support center is also processing all of our Afghan P-1 and P-2 referrals throughout Europe and Central Asia. So they have a big workload. But the bottom line is there is this universe of about twenty-four thousand Ukrainians who could make their way to the United States as refugees over the course of the next, let’s say, year or two depending on their location and where they are in the process. I don’t rule out that at some point we may be able to restart processing in Kyiv, maybe more likely in Lviv, which is a little bit further to the west and a little bit safer. But so there could be a time at which we are—we will be processing in Moldova, in Warsaw, and in Kyiv. We’re also capturing cases that based out of—based from our operations base in Moldova bases in Moldova and Poland will also be traveling to process cases that are located in other countries in the region such as Hungary, Romania, even Germany. So they’re mobile. They traveled. I think I might end there just to, again, say so largest number of Ukrainians coming to the U.S. will come through Uniting for Ukraine. They won’t be coming with refugee status. They’ll have parole status. A smaller number, up to twenty-four thousand—although I think that’s really the high-water point of refugees over the next couple of years. And together I have no doubt, actually, that—I have little doubt that we will reach a hundred thousand Ukrainians who will arrive in the United States through one of these mechanisms. And I’m going to turn it back to Irina, and I’ll be happy to answer questions at the end. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So, Kit, we’re going to go to you now to talk about the work that you’re doing at Welcome.US and how are Ukrainians welcomed into your communities, and can you talk about the community partnerships that are being formed? TAINTOR: Sure. Thank you, Irina, and thank you, Kelly, so much. Great to be here with all of you. I’m coming to you live from Colorado. So great to see so many of my state and local partners here on the call. So, as Kelly said, the primary pathway that Ukrainians that are seeking refuge from the war will come here is through Uniting for Ukraine. Again, it’s a new program but it does use kind of an old tool, if you will, that old tool being the pathway of humanitarian parole, which requires somebody—a named sponsor—to sign what’s called a declaration of financial support. So it’s really like the affidavit of support that Kelly talked about before but it’s a little bit lighter touch, if you will. The responsibilities of the sponsors aren’t necessarily exactly the same. So I wanted to make sure as we use a bunch of information and acronyms that we’re on the same page about the technical details behind that work. So, as Kelly mentioned, you know, this is one of the pathways and it’s really different than what we’ve seen before in the ways that we welcome newcomers, and what I mean by that it’s really different is because it does offer opportunities for everyday Americans like you and me to lean a bit more directly in to the welcoming process as sponsors, to sort of meet people at the airports, to help them find housing, and then to make sure that they have the documents that they need to have in order to restart their lives here. And so we find it to be really exciting. We have engaged with, you know, thousands and thousands of people and organizations who have raised their hand and said, you know what, we’ve seen all those pictures that we’ve all seen in the news about Ukraine and Ukrainians. We know that there’s a crisis in Europe of 7 million folks. We know that there’s countries like Poland and Moldova that are stepping in to offer refuge for Ukrainians and we want to be part of this, and it’s been really great to sort of see everyday Americans step in and really say, you know, we see our role here. We see our role as global citizens and we really want to take a part of this program. As Kelly said, you know, that you do have to have a sponsor and a beneficiary, so an individual will need to know somebody or find somebody in order to sponsor, and once that relationship is—and once that relationship is found people can begin to start the sponsorship process. So I know that there’s some questions in the chat around sort of how do you start that sponsorship process, and so there’s two ways. One, I’m going to invite you all to visit Welcome.US’s Ukraine hub. We’ve partnered with USCIS at the Department of Homeland Security to offer a little bit of, like, plain language, if you will, that helps people understand the sponsorship process and begins to point towards the actual sponsorship application, which is actually on USCIS’ website. A couple of quick notes that, I think, are really great about their website is that, one, this is an online application. So if any of you have worked with folks to fill in humanitarian parole applications before you’ll be very excited that this is no longer paper but it is an online application and there is no backlog. So Kelly mentioned the numbers of folks that have been approved and so what that’s telling me was in the past five or six weeks that this program has been running is that it’s been running pretty smoothly and things are getting approved pretty quickly, which is a testament, definitely, to our friends at the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS that do sort of recognize that that process is relatively easy when we’re thinking about government processes. It’s not like filing taxes, to tell you the truth. It’s a lot easier to move through that process. Another thing that I really like about the USCIS website is you’re able to create an account and you’re able to create an account in a way that you can see the full application, understand the different types of materials that you might need to show in order to move through that process. You know, when you sign the declaration of financial support you’re, basically, saying that you can help make sure that person gets on their feet and stabilizes here in the United States. And so you can look through and see what sort of material you need to show that, maybe a bank statement, maybe the fact that you have a job, sort of a note from your employer, what assets you plan to use to support somebody with their housing expenses—along those sorts of lines. So just note that. You know, and things that are scary in government, this I-134 United for Ukraine application is not one of those and that’s really great to see. You know, after that happens, again, you know, folks will get approved pretty quickly and you’ll begin to prep for arrival. People can arrive wherever in the United States. In the resettlement world there are sort of hubs of resettlement. So these tend to be larger cities where there are resettlement agencies. There doesn’t need to be a resettlement agency in the city where somebody arrives, so just sort of noting that key difference. But what we are seeing are patterns of arrival that really closely mirror where there are existing Ukrainian-American populations. So you guys are active in your states and local communities so you probably know whether or not you have a large Ukrainian-American community but I’ll sort of call out those cities that come into focus for me, and those are New York, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Sacramento. So you’ll note that—again, that those are communities that have welcomed refugees before. They did just welcome Afghans and now that they are seeing Ukrainians, so just noting that that’s a pattern to be proud of because that recognizes that there are strong immigrant communities already in that space and then, again, that these are communities that are welcoming to newcomers. You know, after someone arrives people are expected to help that newcomer kind of find their footing here in the United States and begin that pathway. Note that it is really important to recognize that humanitarian parole does not confer automatic work authorization. So you do have to apply for work authorization once you arrive. If you check the USCIS website they do have a kind of tracker about how long work authorization applications are taking, depending on where you are in the United States. But I think that a pretty good marker and what we’ve seen for Afghans is around six months from date of arrival to people getting work authorization. I do want to take a time out and note that our friends at the Department of Homeland Security made some recent changes that allowed for automatic worker extensions for other populations. So people who already had work authorization here in the United States no longer have to enter, for the lack of a better word, that queue. They are able to get that sort of automatic. And so we’re still hopeful—I think everybody in this process is hopeful that that’s going to clear out that backlog and so we might not be actually looking at six months. But that’s sort of what it looks like right now. You know, once people get here, again, that sponsor is sort of supposed to help people find housing, connect with healthcare. One of the things that beneficiaries have to do soon after they arrive, for instance, is to get a TB test. So the sponsor would be really helping the beneficiary by helping them navigate that process. But I want to take a time out here and celebrate something that happened over the weekend, and the thing that happened over the weekend is President Biden signed a(n) additional law that allows people who are coming in underneath Uniting Ukraine expanded access to some really, really key benefits that everyone on this call is excited about. Those include, like, federal public benefits—Medicaid, SNAP, childcare assistance, TANF—all of those things that people might need to lean upon for a short amount of time before they’re able to have earned income in their families and to be able to provide that support. So really exciting, more than likely in your states. And I know in Colorado, for instance, people are figuring out, like, do they need to run emergency rules, what updates to their eligibility systems might they need to be doing. So note that that work is probably ongoing in your city to make sure that people when they apply with their humanitarian paperwork underneath Uniting for Ukraine that it is moving through that process. But, again, one of my favorite things about Medicaid, in particular, is the ability to backdate Medicaid for ninety days. So I know that health insurance is a big concern for beneficiaries and for sponsors alike so just, really, always like to call that out that that’s a function of most states’ federal Medicaid eligibility rules. The other thing that people became eligible for is services funded under the Office of Refugee Resettlement. So really exciting because that is the tool that works alongside other refugee populations to really make sure that people have connections to case management, employment, mental health services, legal services, all sorts of things. It’s important for you guys to recognize that as federal funding flows from the Office of Refugee Resettlement it flows in two distinct ways, if I can oversimplify things. One is it might flow directly to refugee resettlement agencies in your local community to offer some of those case management or employment supports. But there’s other money that comes straight to states, and so we do expect for money to come in to state refugee coordinator offices, which could be within state government or outside state government, depending on where you are, that allows the state sort of from a state perspective to figure out where the gaps that this money needs to fill, based on what they’re seeing in local communities that Ukrainian beneficiaries need. You know, I think the mantra of me and my counterparts that come out of states is, really, that immigration policy is federal. Immigration integration is local. So a lot of the work that’s going to happen over the next couple of days, weeks, and months is really going to be a lot of that integration work that is more than likely already happening in many of the communities that you represent and happening in a good portion, in part, by community organizations. One thing, Irina, that we’re really tracking is that refugee resettlement agencies are going to be able to avail themselves of some federal dollars. But there’s some other really key organizations over the past couple of weeks and months that have leaned into this space, most especially our organizations that are Ukrainian-American led, and it’s been really, really great to see them pivot from being primarily, you know, like, cultural or education institutions. Maybe they held Ukrainian classes after school or celebrated big holidays. But they have really stepped up and stepped in. So one of my recommendations to state and local partners is to really make sure that you’re pulling in that Ukrainian-American community and, potentially, the community that serves different types of immigrant populations to help wrap their arms around the refugee resettlement infrastructure, knowing that the refugee resettlement infrastructure just went through an overwhelming number of Afghans coming into your cities and to your locations. And so if I were them I would be exhausted. I would be appreciative of the help. So just noting that as you go forth and plan for Ukrainians coming in that I would really invite you to figure out, like, who else in the community can make—has the skills and the expertise that might be able to help a state out or a local community out or a nonprofit ecosystem out with a lot of that work. And, again, Irina, we’ve been super grateful and excited to see the number of Americans, American institutions, American agencies, really standing up and wanting to be part of it, you know, as sort of an historic event on top of, you know, another historic event and really allows us to showcase as Americans what we mean by welcoming and knowing that, again, you know, we’re a nation of immigrants. We were, you know, always meant to be a place where people could find refuge, and these two opportunities—the arrival of Afghans and the arrivals of Ukrainians underneath Uniting for Ukraine—really allow us to step in in ways that, I think, are key. We’ve got a lot of stuff on our website that I want to sort of forecast, but I want to note that the team of the Council for Foreign Relations is going to send this out for you. So don’t feel like you need to scribble it down. We’ve got a Ukraine hub. A couple of really great things on the Ukraine hub right now are links to resources for sponsors. So, for instance, if a sponsor is thinking, huh, I wonder how much money I need to make sure that I have three or four months of support for this Ukrainian family that I want to bring into my community we have a budget template. It’s super simple but it does help you thinking about how you do that. We really encourage that people use that template to work with friends. It can be a lot to sponsor a newcomer and so do it in community. Do it with the church. Do it with your bridge group. Do it alongside an organization. Do it alongside an employer. There are lots of great—different great opportunities where you don’t have to do it alone. Other things that we’ve got on our website, hot off the presses an hour ago is, like, a guide for filling out the I-134 United for Ukraine humanitarian parole application. So kind of like the tips and tricks that we’re seeing, you know, about that, common questions that have been coming up, and, really, wanting to drill down on more specificity to folks. We’ve got an explainer on our website that will be updated tomorrow—so just forecasting that for you guys as well—with a little bit more detail. For instance, one of the questions that we’re getting is, can I bring a pet if I’m coming in underneath Uniting for Ukraine as a beneficiary. So those types of questions will be answered there. Next week we’ll have a little bit kind of more in depth of a(n) engagement module. That’ll be—a Sponsorship 101 is up there now but I’m calling it, like, a Sponsorship 401. I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s a 201. It’s really a 401. Takes you all the way through making sure that sponsors understand power dynamics that might exist in relationships between sponsor and beneficiaries, all the way to how do I find out who a federally qualified health care center in my area might be that I need to connect to—my beneficiary to. So a lot of really great resources. We’re so excited to partner with USCIS at the Department of Homeland Security to do this. We’ve also been partnering with the Office of Refugee Resettlement at Health and Human Services and also partnering with Offices of New Americans and state refugee offices across the United States. So a lot of good work. I hope that this saves everybody time, to tell you the truth, that we put all the information up there, and you can just point folks to our website as you get interest, whether someone wants to be a sponsor or just wants to understand a little bit more about Uniting for Ukraine. So thanks, Irina. FASKIANOS: That was great. Thank you both for the international view and the local view, and, as Kit said, we will send out links to the URLs through the websites and other links that were mentioned so, again, you don’t have to worry about that. I’m going to take—we are now going to your questions so you can either raise your hands. We would love to hear your voice—(laughs)—and we already have two raised hands. Great. Or you can put your question—write it in the Q&A box and I will try to get to those as well. So the first raised hand comes from Matt Joseph. Please unmute yourself and identify yourself so we know what state you’re coming from and what your—give us the context. Q: Hello. This is Matt Joseph. I’m a Dayton city commissioner here in Dayton, Ohio. We are proud to be a welcoming city, and the question I have is actually a practical one. We have a very large concentration of Ahiska Turks here and they have many relatives in Ukraine. So they’re—a number of the groups have asked me about how to get the relatives here. So we were thrilled when this program came out. But the difficulty we’re having is a practical one and that is how do we get them here. Have you seen any models of how it works? Are sponsors paying individually for folks to come? I assume that’s probably the overriding one. In our case, a lot of people who would be sponsors that would be a pretty big burden on them. So I’m actually trying to organize now and trying to figure out how to get folks here and any suggestions you have would be welcome. Thank you. GAUGER: Kit, I’m going to defer to you to start that answer, at least. I think you might have a better, more fulsome answer than I might. TAINTOR: Yeah. I think—so I think one of the things is, is that this is—this is an issue—so I want to recognize that this is an issue in Dayton and it’s an issue for other communities, as well, that that we recognize. Right now, after that travel authorization is granted, the onus is on the sponsor or the beneficiary to find flights. We are trying to work with partners, such as Miles for Migrants or other groups like that, to make sure that some of the things that have been set up for other populations seeking refuge are also available to other folks. I just want to sort of note that with all of Kelly’s great—the numbers we are still about six weeks—five or six weeks into a relatively new program. So thanks for kind of compassion and patience there while we also understand the urgency. So I’ll note on that particular piece there’s also a lot of conversations around how we make sure that we backstop families with funds for sponsors and things like that. So I would really invite an offline conversation, Matt, that we can have to make sure that your community is sort of tied in as those things become more available. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Ryann Woods, who is, I think, from—it’s a written question of—policy analyst from—in the Housing Community Development and Veterans Office about what is the difference between refugee and parolee status, and I think it would be good just to give that definition so that people are clear on that. GAUGER: Sure. Sorry that we didn’t do that at the beginning. Refugee status—if you arrive via the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program you arrive immediately work authorized, although, I guess, you’d still have to complete a form for an EAD. But you’re work authorized. You are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence in one year and citizenship in five. So it is a path to citizenship. Parole is a—it’s a status or a route of—that DHS allows someone to travel to the United States for people who don’t have another pathway to the United States. So people are actually not supposed to be paroled in if they have a refugee pathway to the United States. Various administrations have used it in different ways. The Trump administration severely, severely restricted the use of parole. The Biden administration is using it very expansively. So it’s, basically, a status that allows you to be lawfully present in the United States and to apply for work authorization but it does not lead to any permanent status. For the most part, if someone comes here on parole and wants to stay, they most likely will have to apply for asylum with the Department of Homeland Security. TAINTOR: I’ll note that that’s also a high bar. Asylum is a pretty high bar, Kelly, as you note, and so just noting that people can apply but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s something that’s going to be approved. And a lot of folks coming in through the Uniting for Ukraine program might not actually have kind of viable asylum applications, so just noting that while we’re so excited about the urgency—we were able to get here people so quickly and that is such a win—there is sort of the flipside of that is this is a temporary status and it doesn’t confer a path to permanency, and it can be a pretty high bar to move for permanency for a lot of these folks. GAUGER: Yeah, that is very true. We actually were just speaking with USCIS this afternoon about that, that although Lautenberg Ukrainians don’t have to show a well-founded fear of persecution, other Ukrainians would. And it is unclear right now how strong many persecution claims or many asylum claims from Ukrainians might be. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Montana Senator Shannon O’Brien., who has raised her hand. Q: There we go. Hi there. Thanks so much. Really appreciate you being here or sharing. I just wanted to, I guess, invite or ask if—the National Conference of State Legislatures has a summit that’s in Denver—Kit, I see you’re in Colorado—the 1st of August, and I’ll put that in the chat. But I’m in Missoula. We have soft landing, which has been great. Folks are coming. And I think increased awareness would be really helpful. Our legislature has not been really excited to invite people to Montana, and so I think just some increased awareness would be real helpful. So it would be great to have you there. Thank you. TAINTOR: I would love it. As you said, I mean, I think that there’s a lot of opportunities for communication and making sure everyone’s on the same page. I think, you know, I feel very overwhelmed with everything that’s happening in the news. I’m sure everybody feels overwhelmed with all of what’s happening. And so we would definitely invite in additional opportunities to make sure people feel informed about this opportunity and also kind of the opportunity that it presents to everyday Americans to welcome folks. FASKIANOS: Great. That’s a great suggestion, Senator, and we’re in touch with NCSL. So we’ll make that connection, too. All right. So let’s go to the next question. I’m going to take a written question from Julia Spiegel, who’s in the office of the California governor, deputy legal affairs secretary: Do you have recommendations for what kinds of immigration relief may be available for Ukrainians who are already here, for example those who are on J-1 visas? TAINTOR: So, Kelly, I can take a stab at this if you’d like. So I want to remind folks about the temporary protected status that happened. And, Kelly, please correct me if my data’s wrong, but I believe that you had to be in the United States on April 11th. Does that feel right? GAUGER: So I know that there was an initial date established and then another date was established later. Was April 11th the second date? TAINTOR: I think so. It’s either April 1st or April 11th, but maybe I’ll google it, Irina, and we can send it out as a follow up. FASKIANOS: Great. TAINTOR: But just noting that if you were in the United States on that day, you now have the opportunity to apply for temporary protected status. And so note temporary protected status is temporary, but then I’d also like to reflect that we’ve had Salvadorans on temporary protected status since the 1990s. And so there are all—you know, all sorts of different, you know, ways that that has been implemented, and temporary protected status, like the J-1 visa, allows for employment and allows for a certain set of benefits—not as robust as a status like refugee status would allow you to, but some really great benefits, especially of course in California with your very robust and inclusive public policies. So just noting that I think a lot of it is individualized. And in these cases, you know, we are also hearing about Ukrainians who arrived on B-1/B-2 sort of tourist visas as well, so just noting that each case is going to be slightly different. I know immigration lawyers and law firms and legal services providers are overwhelmed, but I think it is a—is an opportunity to check in with them and figure out what those available pathways might be kind of if that’s—if that’s the situation that you’re seeing. GAUGER: And I might just add I’m looking at a DHS dashboard that as of yesterday they had received 10,489 TPS applications from Ukrainians since April 19th, so a pretty significant number of Ukrainians. I don’t know how that compares to the number of Ukrainians who are present in the United States, but a pretty significant number have applied for TPS. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Idaho Representative Lance Clow. And if you can unmute yourself. There you go. Q: OK. Yeah, I am a representative. My question kind of comes—our extended family, my daughter and my son-in-law who’s sitting with me right now, are sponsoring a Ukrainian gal that’s coming to the United States. She arrives in June. We already got tickets and all that. So a couple of questions. You’ve answered about work, but she’s actually a student at one of the universities in Ukraine, so—and she’s been living—she got out of the country. She went to Spain and she’s on her way to the United States. Will she be able to enroll in universities and colleges in Idaho? Because that may be a requirement for her to continue her online education with her Ukrainian university. Is there some kind of rule like that? And then I have another question, quickly. TAINTOR: I’ll answer that quickly. Yeah, she should be able to enroll, Representative. I think one of the questions is whether or not she would be eligible for in-state tuition. There have been a couple of states, Colorado included, that have passed laws that allow in-state tuition upon arrival for refugees and other folks, but I don’t think that that’s common. I anticipate that probably in-state tuition is reserved for people who have resided in Idaho for, let’s say, a year. So just sort of flagging that it’s a yes, but then also she’s probably going to be classified for out-of-state tuition. Q: OK. My other question. You referenced asylum—you know, this parole visa is two years, and then after that they can apply for asylum. What is the significance of eventually applying for asylum? I’ve got the impression you can’t return to the country. GAUGER: Well, if you—yeah. If you apply for asylum, it provides permanent status in the United States. And, yes, a DHS asylum officer would probably look critically at somebody who had since returned—you know, if they had come to the United States and then returned to Ukraine and then came home or came back to the United States. Getting asylum in the United States does not mean that you can never return home. Actually, many people who get asylum or refugee status in the United States at some point return home. Maybe I shouldn’t say many, but a lot. I know a lot of people that have arrived through the Lautenberg program over the years have eventually gone home. And also, I just wanted to say I have heard—and Kit, you can correct me if you’ve heard differently—I have heard from DHS that at the end of the two years you can also apply for an additional two years. I don’t know what the likelihood is that an additional two years will be granted, but there is—the DHS has held up the possibility that at the end of two years someone could apply for another two years. TAINTOR: Yeah. Representative, one thing I would point out is that I think people have different comfort levels in traveling when they’re on sort of a legal permanent residence or a green-card status and when they travel once they’re a citizen. So just noting Kelly mentioned before that the distance between getting legal permanent residence, which is a pathway for asylum, and then getting citizenship is about—you know, about five years total if not a little bit more. And so what we find with a lot of folks is they find more comfort in leaving once they’re a citizen because they’re a naturalized citizen and so, you know, returning home isn’t as big of a deal as might be if your asylum case is still continuous or if your situation is a green card. So just want to throw that out that, you know, once you become a citizen, then you have the same rights as every other citizen in the United States and people feel a lot more comfortable traveling at that time. Q: Thank you very much. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Steve Bloess—I’m probably not pronouncing that correctly—who’s written a question but also raised his hand. So if you could identify yourself—unmute and identify yourself. And I this is probably for you, Kelly. Q: I’m Steve Bloess. I’m just a poor, poor councilman in Sedalia, Missouri. We’ve got a lot of Ukrainian residents in Pettis County, about five thousand, which is the surrounding county. We’re the county seat. We’ve done a lot with them raising funds, but some of the funds have been—have gone to—and thank you guys for everything you’ve done. I know you’ve been catching them faster than you can string them for months. But they have a lot of relatives or did have a lot of relatives in the last couple weeks, last time I talked to them, they are—that they’re taking things to at the Mexican border, and they want to get them in as quickly as they can. So can—would this—would you guys point me in the right direction? Will the Lautenberg situation help them? Would someone contact me maybe later with my email address and help me untangle the process for them so that they can help their family members south of us? GAUGER: Sure. Kit, I’m going to start and then I’ll have—ask you to come in behind me. So a large number of Ukrainians successfully approached the southern border and were paroled into the United States. However, once Uniting for Ukraine was announced on that day in April, which I think was April 21st, the Department of Homeland Security, it’s my understanding, stopped paroling people in at the southern border and instead have directed people to Uniting for Ukraine. And so anyone—any Ukrainian who is present in Mexico right now needs to go through the Uniting for Ukraine process that Kit and I have spoken about. The online application that Kit describes as being relatively user-friendly and—I don’t want to say simple, but you know, especially if you go to Welcome.US and look at their Ukraine information. So people are not being—from my understanding, people are not being paroled in at the southern border. So they need to get online, do the application, have someone in the United States do the I-134 affidavit of support, and then get approved, and then request the permission for travel, and then travel to the United States and request humanitarian parole with CBP when they arrive. FASKIANOS: OK. We’ll go on. I’m going to go next to Mayor Jennifer Talley, if you can unmute yourself. Q: Hi. Jennifer Talley, mayor of Graham, North Carolina. I have hosted thirteen exchange students through the years, and all of my exchange students when they left and went through this process always went back to their wonderful families. But I have a daughter that was in Venezuela, and everyone knows what’s happened kind of in Venezuela, but eventually, basically, like fifteen of her family members came here to America and sought asylum. And I know like for the first six months they can’t work. They have to basically have someone to kind of sponsor them, give them a place to live, all of that sort of thing. And now they’re just thriving. I mean, they’re just doing so well. My question is, is under this program are they—like, is our goal really to be trying to find families that will support them for a period of time until they can work? Or what is that time period? Like, what do we—what do we need to be asking people to do? Because, obviously, I have a lot of connections in the—in the exchange student program, people with extra rooms in their houses and that sort of thing that would be most likely very willing to help. So I’m not really sure from this program what we’re supposed to be looking for in our communities to be able to assist. So that’s what I’m looking for, some direction today. GAUGER: Kit, I’m going to turn that to you. TAINTOR: Thanks, Kelly. And, Mayor, so happy to hear about the folks from Venezuela. That’s often what we see, is that given an opportunity, given a door to walk through, people do thrive in the United States. So really great to hear about that story. You know, folks coming in is going to be really dependent on their individual situation. I want to, you know, remark that we have seen a fair number of Ukrainian beneficiaries who already worked remote, let’s say, and will be able to work remote here. Those folks might not need a ton of support. Other folks might be starting from scratch. Their assets might have been wiped out, they might not have any income, and that they’ll need sort of that path forward. So before I sort of answer the question specifically, I just want to acknowledge the fact that every single person is going to be different and sort of have different pathways to stability and economic security here in the United States. What we recommend are two things. One is to encourage sponsors or sponsor groups or, you know, sponsors alongside organizations or businesses or other folks that can help them raise the money. Would be about $3,000 per newcomer, and that’s just sort of based on what lived experience looks like, adding into account, you know, sort of the path forward for folks. But we also do have that budget template I talked about, Mayor, that also lines out sort of what cost might somebody need to cover, and I really recommend going through that. That can help you visualize, you know, if you are—you know, for instance, if the beneficiary is staying in your basement apartment, you don’t need to think about housing, and so that might change the amount of money that you need to raise for that particular family. If you’re sponsoring a family of seven and they’ve got, you know, kids and dogs and all that sort of stuff, maybe they’re not going to fit into your basement apartment and you are going to need to help them find an apartment in North Carolina to make sure that they feel safe and secure. So just note we recommend about $3,000 per beneficiary, but that is just an average and, you know, might be different dependent on the case of the beneficiary, the cost of living where you live, whether or not you’re going be able to offer them housing, and the other things that you might be able to either fundraise or fund and support. The other thing we do have on our website, to just make note of this, Mayor, is a fundraising tool. So, for instance, if people are really concerned about raising that money, we do really recommend that people ask neighbors to lean in. We’ve heard a lot from people who say I can’t sponsor but I want to help. I think you’ll find that in Graham, North Carolina, too. So, you know, that’s also sort of a recommended tool that we’ve got there to help people visualize, A, what they’re going to need, and then work towards being able to plan for it. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Cody Allen, who’s with the Southern Legislative Conference in Georgia: What resources are there for states looking to ease access to occupational licenses for refugees? In Georgia, we have a lot of refugees who are underemployed. TAINTOR: Well, I personally love this question because it’s one that we get a lot. And it’s not, you know, just refugees, but it’s immigrants, it’s humanitarian parolees, it is all folks. And one of the things I want to make clear is that most of occupational licensing is at the state level, not the federal level. So noting that there’s a lot of that, what folks can do on the ground, I know NCSL has had a lot of work in this space as well as other—as other local partners. It’s a known issue. It’s a challenging issue. But really, the power to change this is at the state and local level, and so I encourage folks to get in contact with their department of—regulatory agencies or whatever wherever occupational license is overseen to see what they’re working on in this particular space. FASKIANOS: Great. Go next to Frederick Sneesby, who has his hand raised. Q: Yeah, hi. FASKIANOS: There you go. Q: In Rhode—I’m in Rhode Island. And when the Afghans came, most everyone came as humanitarian parolees and they came through the resettlement agencies. And so when I’m looking at the Ukrainians coming as parolees, and you had mentioned either through Uniting for Ukraine or Lautenberg, but will there be another portal, if you will, established through the resettlement agencies? And the reason I ask is that thinking ahead that—of numerous sponsors bringing people into the state sort of invites chaos in terms of finding housing, accessing medical care, getting into schools, employment, education, and so forth—meeting basic needs. When people are flowing through the resettlement agencies, there’s a better chance of coordination and collaboration among a bunch of social-service agencies. So I’m just wondering—two questions, I guess. Is there going to be another portal, for lack of a better word, flowing through the resettlement agency system? And is there a way to find out who the sponsors are in Rhode Island if people are coming through Uniting for Ukraine just so we can begin to organize a little bit better? GAUGER: I’m going to start and say I’m really glad that you asked this question because I asked my colleague Holly Herrera, who is in charge of our domestic resettlement team, the very same question this morning. I said, this is great that we—that Ukrainians are now eligible because of recent legislation that the president signed over the weekend, but how do they know? Because these Ukrainians are not coming through our traditional program. And she—Kit, her answer was that she thought that the Office of Refugee Resettlement was going to use their Preferred Communities funding to kind of spread the word about this. But I wonder if you—oh, there’s Holly. I wonder if either of you have any further information about that, because I agree it would be great to make sure that Ukrainians coming through United for—Uniting for Ukraine are aware that they can access these programs through resettlement agencies. TAINTOR: Yeah, one thing that I’ll just sort of dive in in—and Frederick, I know—I know that you know this well—is that there are other populations that are eligible—other immigrant populations that are eligible for Office of Refugee Resettlement services that do not come through the United States Refugee Admissions Program. So good examples of this would be people that have been granted asylum, so asylees become eligible for our benefits. You know, Cuban/Haitian entrants are often eligible for benefits. So it’s not something that we haven’t faced before, but does necessarily—does, to your point, need a different toolkit, if you will. And so one of the reasons that I’d really bring up working with United—Ukrainian-American organizations or other organizations that have stepped forward in this space to provide support for sponsors, as those are natural nexuses to get this sort of information out. That is really different than what we rely on. I am always reminded about the fact that refugee resettlement agencies don’t necessarily have to go out and find their clients; their clients come to them as part of the USRAP program, and this is a little bit different. And so I think that ORR is thinking about this through the Preferred Communities and also invite in state and local governments to also think about, as money begins to flow from the federal government, how might infrastructures need to look a little bit different to make sure that the word gets out. Simply because, you know, for instance, we know that people aren’t going to just, you know, kind of be assigned a case manager at a resettlement agency; that they’re really going to have to learn about that resettlement agency, find that resettlement agency, and ultimately advocate for their services at that particular agency. So, Holly, I don’t know if you want to add anything. Yeah. GAUGER: Holly, do you want to add? HERRERA: Yes. I think you—I think you both covered it very well. The only thing I wanted to mention, too, is that with this population, you know, they do have supporters that they are going to be helping them in the United States. So when you talk about services that the resettlement agencies typically provide for refugees and for the Afghan parolees such as enrolling in school and so on and getting connected to services, those same resettlement agencies and partners will also likely be receiving funding from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to serve Ukrainians. And so they will help when needed to do some of the things like connecting them to schools and other services, and then certainly providing a lot of the funded services that ORR is going to be providing. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to go next to Christina Bruce-Bennion. Christina, do you want to just ask your question? Or I can read it. Let me give you the opportunity to—putting her on the spot. OK. I do not see her coming on, so I will just ask is. So Christina is with the Idaho Office for Refugees. And— Q: I’m sorry. I think it might have just let me unmute. Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: Oh, there we go. Yes. Great. Thank you. Q: I didn’t see the way to unmute for a minute. Thanks for taking my question and thanks for the information. This is a little bit of a follow-on, I guess, to the previous question. But in our office we’ve been thinking a lot about sort of the equity as people are landing, in some cases where there is resettlement and some cases where there is not. And in a state like Idaho where they are—you know, it’s really big distances between certain communities, and if they’re eligible for things like RCA—which is great; we’re super happy to see that addition to the landscape. You know, there are just a lot of things on the—like, the implementation level, right, that are really—I mean, you know, Kit could probably roll her eyes when she thinks about data or, you know, things like that. But you know, there’s—there is just a lot of stuff on the—you know, just thinking, again, about this, like, access. And so I guess I’m curious, maybe Kelly, one from PRM’s perspective—even though I know a lot of this is running through DHS and not PRM—but, like, what are the—sort the equity questions or the equity—you know, in terms of, like, what if someone doesn’t access services and doesn’t get them and that? You know, like, you know, who’s—I guess the onus is on whom for that? You know, like, is it really up to the client to, like, seek out, are the agencies really trying to track down? And then, from a data perspective and just kind of, again, sort of this equity piece, like, if we don’t know that people are coming in or a sponsorship circle, like, never reaches out or isn’t in a resettlement community, I don’t know, I guess it’s—yeah. So we’re all still learning and I think the infrastructure thing definitely has to improve on our end for sure. But just those are a lot of the questions we’ve been thinking about because they’re—from our perspective, the immigration status doesn’t change what they’ve been through and the kind of support that they will need. And so, yeah, I guess that’s—if you have any thoughts on that. Thank you. GAUGER: Christina, good to hear from you. It’s been a long time. Holly, I’m going to turn that over to you if you have thoughts about that. It’s, frankly, not—it’s not an issue that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. Maybe I should, now that you’ve answered—asked the question. But—and maybe the following assumption is incorrect, but I actually have been operating under the assumption that there are going to be quite a number of Ukrainians who will be coming here to join family members who won’t seek benefits out at all and won’t need them, and that their family members are applying for them to come for a certain amount of time knowing that, you know, they’ll be providing a place for them to stay and so on. I, frankly, don’t even know how many Ukrainians will be seeking work here. So it’s not—it’s admittedly not an issue that I have thought a lot about. But, Holly or Kit, I wonder, maybe starting with Holly, is this something that you’ve thought about? HERRERA: Yes. What I would say is that—so it is the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Health and Human Services who has received the supplemental appropriation to serve Ukrainians, and they are currently working on just this question: What is the best way to ensure access given, as Kelly says, that the need for services may not be the same as with other populations? But in terms of ensuring that those who do need services and assistance—whether it’s medical assistance or, you know, enrollment in particular programs, employment, so on—whether that’s available to them. And so while nothing has been finalized yet—and I’m sitting here in a room with my partners right now and conversing with them about just this topic—is that they are considering, first of all, two things, at least to this point that I know of, are working with the states, the state refugee coordinators. Some may be on this call. So the state refugee coordinators will have that overview of the entire state and the programs and systems that they need to stand up in order to ensure that services are accessible. And then, secondly, working with remote services. So Preferred Communities was mentioned earlier. I don’t think that’s set in stone yet. But the idea being that you could perhaps have a remote program like Preferred Communities be that access point for services for the Ukrainians. And perhaps Kit has more to add. FASKIANOS: Kit, over to you. TAINTOR: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s so great, Christina, that you’re thinking about this, because I actually think that you have the most power—(laughs)—of this about—of any of us, because a lot of the money will be coming to you. And the Idaho Office of Refugees, you know, obviously, has large statutory authority to determine how to solve the very question that you’re asking. So just noting that I’m super excited that you’re thinking about it. Some of Welcome.US’s recommendations that we’ve put in to our friends over at HHS really follow along some of these things. How do we make sure that, you know, states are given the sort of flexibility and adaptability that they need within the regulations to make sure that these sorts of new programs or innovations can be rolled out, especially as, you know—you know, we saw private sponsorship, let’s say, in the Afghans that you talked about, we’ll see it more of a program coming forward? And so how can this opportunity be used to sort of begin to change a little bit about the way that states structure their programs? So I think that’s one of our recommendations. And then one of our other recommendations is to really think about how ORR in particular might be able to support some of the organizations that are already doing this work, noting that they’re already connected to beneficiaries, they’re already connected to sponsors. And so sort of we won’t be putting the pressure on resettlement agencies or the resettlement agency infrastructure that exists to do all of the outreach and engagement, but instead really partnering with organizations, again, that are already doing this work to allow them to provide equity through their lanes of services to make sure that we’re not necessarily reliant on a very narrow kind of path for people to get involved but we’re opening the door for more Americans, American institutions, and American agencies to be involved. But super excited that you’re thinking about it. I’m always happy to brainstorm offline on what I think other states are looking at that potentially, you know, might be of relevance to your community. GAUGER: Maybe, Irina, one last word from me. And I see it’s almost or it is 3:30, so we probably need to wrap up. But something that has occurred to me during this call, most particularly during Kit and Holly’s recent comments, but also a question that a gentleman asked—I’m sorry; I don’t remember he was from—asked about whether states can find out where sponsors are located. And, Kit, I wonder if you might be the most familiar with this. It would be interesting to know if anyone has asked the Department of Homeland Security if they could provide some more granular information to—I don’t know whom—to ORR, to the states about where exactly people are. I mean, I’m looking at, I think—I’m looking at the DHS dashboard that shows, you know, the top area—New York; Newark, New Jersey; Jersey City, 5,806 people—but that’s a—that’s a big territory, right? So would they be willing to provide like a state-by-state, maybe even a city-by-city report? Has that—do you know if anyone has asked DHS about that? TAINTOR: Every Friday. (Laughs.) GAUGER: You do? TAINTOR: Yeah. So I think—I think you mentioned before that there are only, you know, three thousand or so people that arrived, so I just don’t think we’ve tipped into the place where that information can be both protective and public. So I do understand from our USCIS and DHS friends that they are working on what to display and how to display it for the very reasons, but I want to be, you know, really kind of clear that what USCIS has is they have where a sponsor applied. GAUGER: Right, right. TAINTOR: It’s not necessarily where the beneficiary is. And the, secondarily there’s probably not a world in which the sponsor is identified, but there is a world in which information is shared with states and local communities to allow you to know where to do outreach and engagement to make sure that sponsors step forward and identify themselves. GAUGER: Yeah, true. That number I just gave, yes, I didn’t clarify. That was the number of supporters, not the number of Ukrainians in that area. So, yeah, no, point taken. TAINTOR: Yeah. FASKIANOS: Great. Well, I’m sorry that this hour’s just disappeared, vanished. It was such— TAINTOR: This was a great discussion. FASKIANOS: Great discussion, great engagement from all of you, and thank you for the work you’re doing in your communities. There are so many more questions. Just to say it again, we will be sending out a link to the video and the transcript, as well as, you know, going through all the resources that were mentioned. But I will just leave you with the Ukrainian hub is Ukrainian.Welcome.US, right, Kit? That’s the correct URL? But again, we will put that in an email to all of you. Thank you for all that you’re doing and thank you, Kit Taintor and Kelly Gauger. We really appreciate all the work that you’re doing in your respective areas on this issue, which is so important to us and to humanity. So thank you very much. So, again, you can follow us, CFR’s State and Local Officials Initiative, on Twitter at @CFR_local. And of course, always please come to and for information on foreign policy, different expertise and analysis. So, again, thank you, Kelly and Kit. GAUGER: Thanks for all the great— TAINTOR: Thank you. GAUGER: Thanks for all the great questions, everybody. Take care. (END)