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Friday, June 14, 2024

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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

PA Refugee-Resettlement Group Calls for Support of Ukrainian Families

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Monday, March 7, 2022   

The Department of Homeland Security says the 30,000 Ukrainians temporarily living in the U.S. can now stay for 18 months under Temporary Protected Status.

Pennsylvania refugee resettlement groups applaud the decision but say Ukrainians outside the U.S. need more support as they face invasion from Russia.

Many Ukrainian refugees in the U.S. arrived through the Lautenberg Amendment, which supports the resettlement of religious minorities facing persecution.

Cathryn Miller-Wilson, executive director of HIAS Pennsylvania, said Ukrainian refugees already here are worried about their relatives still in the country.

"The family petitions require processing at a U.S. embassy, and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is closed," said Miller-Wilson. "But, I mean, it will take a long time. The Ukrainian has to successfully flee and then get in touch with their relatives here. The paperwork has to be filed. It's a very, very long process."

The Lautenberg Amendment was an act of Congress in the 1990s that has yet to be reauthorized for 2022.

Miller-Wilson said HIAS Pennsylvania files nearly 150 petitions annually to resettle people through the amendment. Pennsylvania has the second-largest Ukrainian population in the country.

Miller-Wilson said between Ukraine, the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in August, and the political and economic crises in Haiti, it's made clear the need for U.S. immigration law reform.

"Despite all the rhetoric about the United States, 'Bring us your tired, your hungry, your poor,' the truth is, our structures are not responsive," said Miller-Wilson. "They're overly bureaucratic. They take forever. And when I say forever, I don't mean weeks or even months, I mean years."

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced that 76,000 Afghans had been resettled in communities across the country. Finding affordable housing for them remains a challenge for refugee resettlement groups.

Since September, thousands of Haitians seeking asylum have been turned away at the U.S. border due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.




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