In Support of Ukrainian Refugees

We at Open Doors for Refugees express our horror at the unnecessary and vicious war in Ukraine. We support a peaceful solution to the crisis and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and with Russians protesting the war. We salute the hospitality and generosity of people in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Belarus, and others who have immediately opened their homes and hearts to people fleeing across borders.

Last updated on October 8, 2022

What Happened?

Russia is invading Ukraine. Many of Ukraine’s citizens are fleeing from the war.
For a simple historical take on the issue: Why did Russia Invade Ukraine?

When Will Wisconsin Receive Ukrainian Refugees?

Announced on March 24, the United States will allow in 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. The Biden administration also plans to provide an additional $1 billion in humanitarian aid for Ukrainians and refugees in the surrounding areas.

Thank you for advocating for the admission of Ukrainian refugees to the US. Let your representatives in Congress know that you approve of this action.

Temporary Protection

On March 3, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security granted Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainian nationals already living in the US. This order protects Ukrainians who are already here from being deported for at least the next 18 months, regardless of their current immigration status.

Title 42 Restrictions

Despite pressure from immigrant rights advocates, the Biden Administration has chosen to uphold Trump-era restrictions under Title 42, which led directly to the mass deportation of Haitian asylum seekers at Del Rio, Texas in Fall 2021. Recently, Ukrainians seeking protection at the US-Mexico border have been confronted by the hurdles Title 42 places in the way of asylum seekers.

We are hopeful that the increased attention and sympathy Ukrainian asylum seekers are receiving right now will shed more light on the restrictions currently in place under Title 42 and finally lead to the repeal of this cruel and dangerous order.

Uniting for Ukraine

The Biden administration has set up a program called Uniting for Ukraine to allow for up to 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine to come to the U.S. with the support of a sponsor.

Art and Culture

The arts and culture of Ukraine, including music, dance, foodways, museums, festivals, and World Heritage architecture, are also war victims. Wisconsin is rich in Eastern European folk arts, which continue to thrive today.

An episode of the Wisconsin Folks Podcast that visits with artists from Wisconsin’s Slavic communities.

Local Resources

UW-Madison is home to the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA), which hosts public outreach programs. You can sign up for the CREECA newsletter and receive notification of lectures, webinars, debates, and panels which address issues in that part of the world.

Liliana’s Restaurant in Fitchburg is fundraising to feed displaced Ukrainians by selling varenyky (Ukrainian dumplings). 100% of the proceeds from Liliana’s varenyky sales go to World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that travels to conflict zones and areas of need to provide home-cooked food to hungry people.

How Can I Help?

Wisconsin has over 11,000 Ukrainian-born residents, spread throughout the state, with many in the Milwaukee and Green Bay area. Thousands more Wisconsinites claim heritage from Ukraine and neighboring countries. Many Wisconsin communities and organizations have rallied to provide assistance to Ukraine and displaced Ukrainians at this time.

Wisconsin Ukrainians and Ukrainian Cultural School of Green Bay is a Wisconsin Ukrainian community.
This organization is collecting donations of cash and goods (see their list) for air transport to Ukraine and surrounding countries.

Fundacja Ocalenie, or Rescue Foundation, helps refugees build new lives in Poland.
Poland has welcomed hundreds of thousands of people from Ukraine, with which it shares a border. Much of the work to welcome those people has been happening through grassroots groups like Fundacja.

The National Bank of Ukraine has opened a fundraising account for humanitarian assistance.
Funds from this account will be used by Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy to provide food, shelter, medicine, basic goods, and financial aid to refugees and citizens affected by this crisis.

In addition to helping Ukrainian nationals, Fundacja Ocalenie has also been working in particular to support people who are not Ukrainian citizens and who are fleeing the conflict. Many of these are people from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia who are international students, foreign workers, and other immigrants to Ukraine. People like this are sometimes called “secondary migrants” and are often particularly vulnerable during wartime because it may be harder for them to cross borders, secure visas into the countries where they’re fleeing, and because they may experience additional discrimination and difficulties returning to their home countries.

Hundreds of organizations have created funds for humanitarian and military aid. We encourage you to find a reputable outlet. USAID lists 24 reputable organizations, including:

Some people are “ghost”-booking (booking without plans to actually visit) Airbnb accommodations in Ukraine. This can be a way to lend direct financial support from afar to individuals and families who rent out their properties. If you’d like like to do this, make sure to research the property you are booking to ensure it is actually run by an individual rather than by a company.

Airbnb is also accepting donations to provide short term housing for refugees fleeing from Ukraine.

Thank You for Your Support

Whether ordering some varenyky from Liliana’s, making a “ghost” Airbnb booking, donating to a local or overseas charity, or increasing your knowledge about Ukraine by attending a CREECA talk, your generosity and solidarity make a difference.