As the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine was beginning to unfold, Father Robert Hitchens, a pastor at the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family in Washington, D.C., received a request for help for Ukrainians who fled their country and now faced an impossible choice.
“I had a call from a woman whose Ukrainian relatives are stuck in Budapest right now—the mother has a visa and the older child has a visa to come to the U.S., but the youngest child does not have a visa,” said Hitchens. “She’s not going to leave the young child behind, and they’re running into brick walls.”
Currently, Ukrainian citizens are required to apply for a visa abroad in order to enter the United States, and with millions of refugees entering Ukraine’s neighboring countries, the line for those visas risks becoming impossibly long. For those who have already been forced apart from their loved ones by war, Hitchens said, the possibility of yet another family separation is too great to bear.
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