BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Several Ukrainian refugees are making North Dakota their new home.
115 Ukrainian refugees have resettled or been authorized to do so already right here in North Dakota after the Biden administration launched the Uniting for Ukraine program in May this year.
Holly Triska-Dally, the state refugee coordinator, says the Bis-Man area has the most sponsored.
“There has been 54 so almost half of all sponsors are located in the Bismarck-Mandan community,” said Triska-Dally.
She says so far, the Ukrainians arriving all have known connections, family and friends who are sponsoring them.
However, things will be changing. Triska-Dally said there is a new platform called Welcome.US.
“It allows for the matching of potential sponsors with displaced Ukrainians in need of relocation so if an everyday person in North Dakota who may really want to be of assistance and would like to help Ukrainian get to safety here in North Dakota they can absolutely,” Triska-Dally said.
Triska-Dally says the admission process moves through the Department of Homeland Security very quickly and Ukrainian refugees that are sponsored are eligible for the same support services as a refugee; those supporting would receive cash assistance and other benefits to help at least for the first 12 months.
“Case managers in the instance of Bismarck North Dakota, we work with global neighbors so they will provide case management services to arriving Ukrainian refugees with the goal of helping everyone rejoin the career field, “she said.
She says the outcome after families resettle and get here is empowering.
“And it has been just absolutely wonderful seeing some of the reunions and just seeing how they’re adjusting to the community and the value that they bring into the community has been absolutely heartwarming,” Triska-Dally added.
In Ukraine, men ages 18 to 60 are staying behind, causing a break-up between families and their loved ones.
But Triska-Dally says the state is prepared to help through trauma therapy, services and rehabilitation.
“If you were to go back 100 years ago you would say that 80% of North Dakota’s were either immigrants or the children of immigrants and I really believe that welcoming is a part of our culture as North Dakota’s in the better job that we do at welcoming newcomers the stronger our communities in the stronger our economy will be,” she said.
The sponsorship program is meant to last for two years but may go on longer due to the conditions and circumstances throughout the world.
Background checks are conducted on both sponsors and refugees.
Several other requirements are necessary, but the process can be completed in two weeks.
For information on how you can become a sponsor and get involved visit https://ukraine.welcome.us/.