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10 takeaways from new data on people who have registered to sponsor displaced Ukrainians – Niskanen Center

In April, the Biden administration launched the Uniting For Ukraine program, to provide a streamlined route to the United States for Ukrainians fleeing the war. It depends on US-based supporters signing up, naming a Ukrainian beneficiary, and undergoing a background check and financial assessment to prove they can support their arrival in the country.

In the five months since the program’s launch, more than 60,000 Ukrainians have entered the United States for their temporary stay, with tens of thousands more expected to arrive in the coming months. Thousands of US sponsors support them – over 140,000 have signed up (one sponsor can support multiple grantees).

There has been very little analysis of who is stepping in to support Ukrainians, aside from anecdotal reports of sponsors and their beneficiaries across the country. However, Niskanen recently obtained data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) compiling the ZIP codes of all US sponsors, which provides additional background information on the communities that have rallied around this initiative.

Here are ten takeaways from postcode data as of September 30, 2022:

  1. Compared to the national average, the top 25 sponsoring congressional districts have a 219% higher share of residents with Ukrainian ancestry.
  2. Forty-five percent of sponsors live outside the top 10 metropolitan areas.
  3. Sixty-eight percent of the sponsors are represented by House Democrats and 30% by House Republicans.
  4. Three of the 25 most welcoming congressional districts are represented by Republicans, including Brian Fitzpatrick in PA-01, Nicole Malliotakis in NY-11 and Jaime Herrera Beutler in WA-03.
  5. Since the start of the program five months ago, an average of 875 applications have been received each day.
  6. Of the 25 districts with the highest demand for Ukrainians, about two-thirds are suburban and the remaining third are urban.
  7. Nearly 3,000 zip codes in the United States are home to at least ten supporters.
  8. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries represents the highest-demanding district in the nation, NY-08.
  9. The top 10 metropolitan areas requiring Ukrainians are the greater area surrounding New York, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Miami, Portland, Detroit, and Cleveland.
  10. The program will likely host more than 100,000 Ukrainians by the end of 2022.

Uniting For Ukraine has proven effective in providing a simplified pathway to temporary status for tens of thousands of people facing the devastating reality of having to flee war. Americans across the country — in all 50 states — have risen to the occasion, welcoming Ukrainians into their neighborhoods and communities.

As the program continues to provide safe haven for thousands more each week, we encourage the administration to consider how to build on the success of U4U and expand it to other populations.

Photo credit: iStock

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