Every morning and every night, from her home in Falls Church, Va., Nadiia Khomaziuk messages her sister Lidiia in her hideaway in western Ukraine.
Is Lidiia still okay? How about her kids, who are 7 and 11? Every day, Khomaziuk scours the Internet, calls U.S. government offices and connects with lawyers and other Ukrainian Americans, in search of a path to bring her family to safety in the United States.
To get to there, Khomaziuk’s family and other Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion would need a visa, but the earliest appointment Khomaziuk could get for an interview for her sister at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw is in September.
Lidiia, who asked that her last name not be published because of security concerns, isn’t ready to leave Ukraine. She wants to fight “till the last breath,” Khomaziuk said, though “the kids’ bags are packed, so they can jump in the car the minute they need to. But then I don’t know if I can get them here. Waiting six months for an interview just isn’t right.”
More than 3 million Ukrainians have fled their ravaged country, and the great majority of them are in the border states of Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Moldova and Hungary, according to the United Nations.
As Russian missiles obliterate more cities, refugees crowded into family basements and church social halls across Eastern Europe confront a painful choice to hold out where they are or try to be resettled as refugees, possibly in faraway countries.
Over 5,000 miles away, the reality is setting in for Ukrainian Americans eager to bring their relatives to safety that despite government pledges of solidarity, getting into the United States is a lengthy and cumbersome process that remains largely unchanged from before the war, according to those trying to bring relatives into the country and advocates who are helping them. [Continue reading…]