They would be brought to the United States through various legal channels, including the conventional US refugee program as well as more nimble mechanisms such as “humanitarian parole,” which the Biden administration has used for tens of thousands of prisoners. Afghans last year during Operation Allies. Welcome, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the plans.
Biden – who is in Brussels on Thursday and part of Friday for meetings with NATO, the Group of Seven and the European Council – will also announce more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid for people affected by the war in Russia with Ukraine, as well as more than $11 billion over the next five years to address food security threats.
Administration officials said Thursday that while they expect many Ukrainians to choose to stay in Europe, some of those fleeing their country will want to enter the United States. White House officials said many of those who left Ukraine may want to stay close to their home country because they hope to return.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Monday called on the West to establish an “air bridge” to facilitate the escape of refugees.
Baerbock said she expects the upcoming effort to be the biggest relocation process since World War II. Despite the barrage of missiles and other artillery pounding all parts of Ukraine, the established humanitarian corridors for Ukrainians to flee the country continue to function.
A US official said the aim of efforts between US and European officials is to spread refugees across the West – including across the Atlantic – to avoid overburdening a single country. The US offer to take in 100,000 refugees moved up from a lower number earlier in the week, another official said.
In a fact sheet describing the initiative, the White House said it was “working to expand and develop new programs with a focus on welcoming Ukrainians who have family members in the United States.” United”.
“The United States and the European Union are also coordinating closely to ensure that these efforts, as well as other forms of humanitarian admission or transfers, are complementary and provide much-needed support to Ukraine’s neighbors.” , indicates the document.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Brussels on Wednesday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the growing flow of refugees pouring into Europe was one of the main topics on the agenda. of Biden’s trip. He added that it was important “that we all work together to do our part on the humanitarian element of this crisis, both for the suffering inside Ukraine and the refugee crisis outside. of Ukraine”.
“Here, Europe has really stepped up in a big way, and it’s the United States that will come tomorrow with an additional commitment in both humanitarian aid and refugees,” Sullivan said Wednesday.
The second part of Biden’s three-day trip, a stopover in Poland, will also focus on refugees. Poland has faced the largest influx of fleeing Ukrainians so far, and on Friday Biden plans to hold an event there on the refugee crisis, including a meeting with humanitarian aid experts. .
John Hudson contributed to this report.