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As Ukrainian refugees are welcomed, advocates call for better treatment of immigrants from other countries

They say temporary protected status should be granted to people from Latin American countries who are fleeing political instability and cartel violence.

AUSTIN, Texas — Once the war broke out in Ukraine, the U.S. offered temporary protected status (TPS) for Ukrainians who are in the U.S. That means they won’t have to return to Ukraine. Attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch said that status hasn’t been offered to others in need. 

“But we still did not see the United States grant TPS for people from the Northern Triangle – Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – who are fleeing gang violence. We still have not seen the administration announce TPS protection for people in Afghanistan,” she said

Lincoln-Goldfinch said the Biden administration moved fast when it came to Ukraine. 

“The speed with which the administration has responded to the crisis in Ukraine, as it pertains to people from Ukraine who are already inside the U.S., is very swift and very fast. We haven’t seen that same speed of response,” she said.

CBP saw a 57% increase in Ukrainians coming to the border this January as compared to last year, and a 51% increase when comparing the last two Decembers.

For now at the border, people are turned away due to Title 42, which prevents people from coming into the country. But Alexis Bay with the Texas Civil Rights Project said Latin American migrants are looked at differently than Ukrainians. 

“In many ways, they’re portrayed very negatively – again this sort of invasion sort of narrative, which is incredibly harmful,” Bay said.

Migrants may face dangerous situations when sent back home. 

“In Mexico, we have seen many migrants face violence from cartel members, and just living in unsafe conditions, trafficking. It just puts them in a lot of danger,” they said.

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