The Biden administration has announced it will expedite the resettlement of LGBTQ Ukrainian refugees in the United States.
NBC News reported that the administration is also prioritizing the resettlement of Ukrainian activists and journalists and will also speed up the process of reuniting refugees with family members who live in the U.S.
As of now, it’s not clear if the refugees will be granted permanent or temporary status. The Biden Administration believes most will want to return home and thus will not need permanent resettlement. They also believe that due to this desire, most refugees will choose to stay in Europe.
“Overall we’ve been urging that they not bring in refugees the way they brought the Afghans in — via humanitarian parole without any pathway to assistance, status, or family reunification,” said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, a Jewish American organization providing assistance to refugees. “They should bring in Ukrainians the way they brought in Kosovars from Macedonia in 1999 — finalizing the refugee adjudication after they get to the U.S., to ensure they have all the protections to which they would be entitled as refugees.”
While Ukraine still has a long way to go when it comes to LGBTQ rights, the country has come a lot farther than Russia, where LGBTQ people continue to be actively persecuted.
The country is also infamous for its “gay propaganda” law, which was signed by Putin in June 2013 and prohibits the distribution/marketing of any LGBTQ content deemed “harmful” to minors.
And in Chechnya, a Russian republic, head of state Ramzan Kadyrov has spent years overseeing a horrific “purge” of LGBTQ people, during which gay men and transgender people have been tortured and murdered at the hands of authorities.
The U.S. has also revealed that Russia has a “kill list” of Ukrainians it plans to murder or detain. The list includes several LGBTQ people.