From the New York Times:
From left, the brothers Pavlo, Ivor, Davyd and Peter Davydyuk packing up materials and props for a church camp where they are counselors in Vancouver, Wash. The Davydyuk family arrived from Ukraine in May. Credit Leah Nash for The New York Times
Soviet-Era Program Gives Even Unoppressed Immigrants an Edge
By MIRIAM JORDAN AUG. 26, 2017
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Growing up in the 1970s and ’80s in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, Halyna Davydyuk was bullied by classmates and by teachers, who forced her to sit in the last row because she was an evangelical Christian. Her father was jailed for his beliefs.
Today, she said, “there’s not a lot of persecution, but it’s difficult to find work.”
Normally, someone seeking better prospects in the United States would wait several years to be admitted. But Ms. Davydyuk, her husband, their seven children and a daughter-in-law arrived here in Vancouver in May just two years after applying. They joined a growing number of Ukrainians who have streamed into the United States in recent months even as the country has closed the door on other refugees.
What distinguishes the Davydyuks, who are Pentecostal, from other immigrants is a program created nearly three decades ago to benefit those who suffered from religious persecution in the Soviet Union, where the Communist Party hounded religious groups it could not control. …
Nearly 4,000 Ukrainian refugees were admitted to the United States in the first 10 months of this fiscal year, compared with 2,543 for the entire 2016 fiscal year and just 227 four years ago. Their 2017 numbers are dwarfed by arrivals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Myanmar. But since May 1, as the Trump administration began to restrict admissions of refugees, Ukraine has accounted for the second-largest number of arrivals, behind only Congo.