ICE suspends deportation flights to more countries amid Russia-Ukraine war: report

ICE suspends deportation flights to more countries amid Russia-Ukraine war: report

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly suspending deportation flights to a slew of Eastern European countries amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

ICE confirmed to Fox News on Thursday that it has suspended flights to Ukraine, citing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country caused by Moscow’s invasion.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HALTS ICE DEPORTATION FLIGHTS TO UKRAINE AMID RUSSIA INVASION

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

CBS News reports that, in addition to Ukraine, flights are also suspended to Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The outlet said congressional officials had been informed of the suspension. ICE did not respond a request Saturday for confirmation of the suspensions.

Deportations to those countries are relatively low. According to ICE’s end of year report for FY 2020, it deported 106 illegal immigrants to Ukraine, 108 to Russia, 11 to Belarus, 44 to Hungary, 17 to Moldova, 102 to Poland, 263 to Romania and 12 to Slovakia.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION GIVES PROTECTION FROM DEPORTATION TO UKRAINIANS LIVING IN US

The move came a day before the administration announced that Ukraine will be designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. TPS protects nationals of designated countries living in the U.S. from deportation if they are eligible and allows them to apply for work permits and to travel freely.

The Department of Homeland Security said the designation was based on “both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent Ukrainian nationals and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine from returning to Ukraine safely.” 

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

That move had been called for by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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