“They are just bouncing from country to country,” said Jenya Semenkova of Oyster Bay. “We are here and can support them.”
Semenkova’s sister Kseniia Isaienko and her brother-in-law Oleksandr Isaienko fled Odessa last month after a bomb was attacked near the apartment. They left only clothes and some personal paperwork on their backs.
The couple are trying to get a tourist visa from US embassies across Europe so they can come to their families on Long Island.
“The embassy they said they can’t give us visas,” Oleksandr Isaienko told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne at FaceTime.
Mr Isaienko said consular officials were weeping the couple, but he said there was nothing he could do.
Federal immigration law in the United States requires that a person applying for a tourist visa, the type of visa that can be obtained most quickly, must be able to prove that they have and intend to do so in their home country. doing.
Isaienko, like many other Ukrainians, cannot provide such evidence because he does not know what will happen in his hometown.
“We want to return to Ukraine,” said Kseniia Isaienko. “We only have to stay on a tourist visa for a few months.”
Congressman Tom Suoji of Long Island wrote to President Joe Biden asking the White House to create a special refugee program to help Ukrainians who are temporarily staying with their families in the United States. rice field.
“I can understand the provisions of the law and why it was first done, but now these families are involved in this,” Suoji said. Suoji said he was working with another local family in a similar situation.
Other countries, such as Canada, have abandoned visa requirements to allow Ukrainians to move there in the event of a humanitarian crisis.
Meanwhile, Oleksandr and Kseniia Isaienko live outside the car in Italy, trying to find the next step.
Witness news contacted the US State Department with a written statement reiterating their policy on tourist visas.
“We strive to ensure that local embassies and consulates have sufficient staff and resources, and prioritize consulate support for U.S. citizens and their close relatives,” the statement said. increase.
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Ukrainian refugees have refused tourist visas to live with their families in Oyster Bay, Long Island
Source link Ukrainian refugees have refused tourist visas to live with their families in Oyster Bay, Long Island