Washington, D.C.—Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) sent a letter to the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security urging them to expedite adoption procedures for Ukrainian orphans in danger, particularly those already undergoing immigration processes for adoption by families in the United States. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created a humanitarian crisis, many orphans who have already completed the formal adoption process with families in the U.S., or are currently at some stage in the process, are stuck in Ukraine or in nearby countries, even though they have American families ready to bring them to safety.

The letter read in part, “As Russian forces continue to wage relentless attacks against civilians, we must do everything we can to bring these children to safety in the U.S. Doing so is particularly urgent given that President Putin banned American adoption from Russia in 2013 and could take similar measures if Russian forces continue to advance. We urge the federal government to take additional steps to streamline adoption processes and expand applicable immigration statuses for Ukrainian children with adoption procedures already underway.”

Specifically, Congresswoman Ross is requesting that:

  • The State Department appeal directly to the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy to grant permission to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to issue expedited nonimmigrant visas for children who have been previously hosted by families in the U.S. and are now in the process of being adopted by those families
  • The State Department work with the Ukrainian government to allow families with adoptions in process to attend adoption court at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. rather than in Ukraine.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) work closely with the State Department to streamline humanitarian parole applications in conjunction with normal visa-issuing procedures.

Full text of the letter can be found here.