Canada announced Thursday that it is streamlining the process for Ukrainian refugees, and that there will be no limit to how many can emigrate.
Officials estimate that at least one million Ukrainians have already left the country – and millions more will certainly follow.
Many of them may eventually find their way to Washington state.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal sits on the House Subcommittee for Immigration & Border Security, and told KING 5 that Congress will push for the United States to match Canada’s actions.
“That's exactly what we're trying to do here,” she told KING 5 Thursday, adding, “We want to take as many refugees [as possible]. And for (Ukrainians already) here, we can offer temporary protected status, a special ability for students to stay, so we're not sending them back to a war zone."
Jayapal also emphasized the burden cannot be solely on the U.S.
"We want to build the coalitions we need with countries around the world," she said, "because there will be so many (refugees), it won’t be possible for any single country to do it alone.”
Asked what more the U.S. can do, with Vladimir Putin now targeting civilians in Ukraine, she said – in concert with the rest of the world's leading countries – the U.S. needs to "double and triple down" on diplomatic, non-military actions, like cracking down on Russian oligarchs.
“If you look at the response of NATO and non-NATO allies around the world," she told KING, "you see the work that this president (Biden) has done to rebuild relationships in Europe. If Russia thought that this unprovoked, unlawful invasion of Ukraine was going to divide the rest of the world – it has achieved the opposite impact.”
Local organizations like Lutheran Community Services Northwest already are preparing to welcome refugees.
Rep. Jayapal was at the White House this afternoon, as President Biden signed a bill into law that she co-sponsored. It helps survivors of sexual assault by forbidding employers to require arbitration when victims come forward with their cases. She told KING 5 that she began work on the bill after seeing what news anchor Gretchen Carlson endured while working at FOX News.