A legal victory – and another wait – for Ukrainians and their employers in Georgia

Editor’s Note: This sponsored article was contributed by Attorney Charles look as part of Look Baxter Immigration‘s annual partnership with Global Atlanta.

Charles look

Every win feels like a triumph in an immigration case – if only on paper. A few months ago, Kuck Baxter Immigration Partners LLC was part of a legal team that won a case for everyone Ukrainian Refugees who want to work there United States. But the fight goes on.

After congress passed Law “Union for Ukraine”. In 2022, private US citizens could support refugees for the first time in history. The hugely successful program allowed Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war in their country to receive all the benefits that other refugees receive in the US, except for a green card. This included permission to work in the United States

However, believing they needed official work permits, thousands of Ukrainians and their employers applied for work permits U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and received $410 each.

Ironically, they are refugees under US law not required to get a work permit. However, if they or their employers wish to obtain a permit, it will be granted free of charge.

We contacted USCIS in May 2022 to request an amendment to USCIS policy under the Uniting for Ukraine Act that would make work permits for Ukrainian refugees free. We have tried for several months to pressure them through the press and social media to change policy, but to no avail.

That’s why we sued them in September 2022 on behalf of at least 220,000 Ukrainians who had paid a total of about $90 million to the USCIS for unnecessary work permits. In essence, these refugees and their US sponsors had been betrayed by the US government.

USCIS had until November 23, 2022 to respond to our lawsuit. Punctually, on November 21, 2022, USCIS issued a new policy declaring work permits for Ukrainian refugees free of charge.

Big win, right? Almost…

One more wait

We filed a lawsuit and it worked; The government agreed. It was a victory for Ukrainian refugees sponsored by churches and friends, many of whom were non-working, awaiting permits.

The immigration authorities had knowingly misinterpreted the law and it took a lawsuit to force them to do the right thing and change the rule to grant work permits free of charge.

Except…

What about the 220,000 Ukrainians who paid $410 each for their work permits? Do you get your money back?

Unfortunately, not. USCIS has stated that it believes it can keep this money.

So we’ve now filed another lawsuit to ask USCIS to return the $90 million that the government took from these refugees.

We believe we can recover this money from USCIS. But be that as it may, we know that stealing from refugees does not portray us well biden Administration.

Keep following our stories GlobalAtlanta.com and ours Twitter Update @KuckBaxter or @ckuck to keep up with our victories – and ongoing struggles – on immigration issues that impact our community.

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Comment: Congress should grant temporary protected status to all Ukrainians