SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — On April 21, 2022, President Joe Biden announced a program called “Uniting for Ukraine” (also referred to as U for U) that allows Ukrainians to move to the United States for up to two years.
“U for U” works differently than other immigration programs in that it allows Ukrainians in the country under something called humanitarian parole. In this case, parole is an emergency deemed by the government such that some of the usual rules are suspended; and importantly, an American family must agree to sponsor a specific Ukrainian immigrant – and not necessarily someone from their family.
Gennady Bratslavsky, a physician at the Upstate University Hospital, sponsors three students from Ukraine. His wife, Katya Bratslavsky, said “U for U” was a hidden gem as an opportunity for these students to study in the United States and get ready for the professional world.
“It was a new program that maybe not too many people knew about,” said Katya Bratslavsky. “Thank God, we got a very knowledgeable person who knew all the ways how to help Ukrainian refugees. It took just a few weeks, and then it was just a matter of buying them tickets…”
Eduard Gusak is one of the students the Bratslavskys are sponsoring. Gusak is studying at Syracuse University while he is in Central New York. He says his main reason for moving to the United States was not the war, but the opportunity to learn and grow as a professional in the industry. By pursuing master’s degree in Public Administration at Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Gusak wants to bring knowledge back to Ukraine to strengthen his homeland.
“People who moved abroad after the war started, in my opinion, they are not refugees,” Gusak said. “They are people who were forced to move from their country and not necessarily begin a new life but rather continue their lives but with new perspectives. But they are still Ukrainians and they do whatever they can to support their home country.”
Today, both Gennady Bratslavsky and Eduard Gusak are working on their non-for-profit foundation called “Ukraine 1991”. If you would love to help Ukraine, you can find all the information on their website.