Jersey City welcomes Ukrainian refugees to New Jersey
It’s been 53 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, and millions of Ukrainians have fled the country to seek refuge elsewhere in the world.
President Joe Biden has expanded the Temporary Protected Status for Ukrainians living in the United States. This means that more refugees are protected from deportation. It also helps them qualify to work in the U.S.
Some of those refugees have come to New Jersey – a handful to Jersey City.
Jersey City held an official welcoming for the Ukrainian families they know of that have moved to Jersey City during the war. The families include mostly mothers and their children. They have been in the city for a few weeks.
“We heard the first bombs. It was terrifying the first morning,” says 13-year-old Dymtrii Frenkel.
Frenkel, his sister Nikol and their parents Olga and Aleksandr - make up one of 21 families now living in Jersey City.
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During Monday’s welcoming event, the children were given gifts, including tablets and games and other toys during the event. The parents received gift cards.
Jersey City is working with a group called Ukrainian Jersey City, which was founded just over a year ago as a culture and social club. But the group changed focus to humanitarian aid when the war broke out.
Ukrainian Jersey City is now working with the city to collect food and cash donations for the refugees, help them find work, help the kids get into school and help the refugees find permanent shelter.
“When they fled Ukraine, they came with little bags. They all need something. So we are helping find them…everything they need to live a regular life like the rest of us,” says Tamara Syby.
“I’m so glad to all these people who are helping us - all this time,” Frenkel says.
Jersey City officials are also offering legal services to help the refugees stay in New Jersey as long as they want.