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Not All Refugee Groups Get The Same Status Under U.S. Immigration Policy

International Rescue Committee Tallahassee
Several Afghan refugees were counseled on available community resources at the FSU College of Law on March 5

Refugees from war-torn Ukraine are coming to the United States. But those asylum seekers have legal protections that some earlier refugee groups do not.
Elizabeth Ricci is a Tallahassee immigration lawyer. She said the federal government is supposed to grant Temporary Protected Status to foreign nationals for several reasons.

"We've got people fleeing whether it's an environmental catastrophe, or war, or some other extraordinary condition, but they're not all being treated the same on this end."

Ricci said Ukranians fleeing the Russian invasion got that status almost immediately, but Afghan refugees have yet to receive TPS. She explained that's something the federal government could change right away.

"We do not need congress to act for Temporary Protected Status. It's something that Secretary Mayorkas with U.S.C.I.S., and of course the president's endorsement, could issue through the Department of Homeland Security."

Ricci hoped that will happen to provide consistency to America's policies as more people seek refuge from disasters in their own countries. Ricci's firm is a WFSU Public Media supporter.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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