Billions of Aid Abroad, Bureaucracy at Home: The Tale of One Ukrainian's Fight to Stay in the USA
In the Era of Billion-Dollar Aid, One Ukrainian Seeks Simple Justice from U.S. Immigration in a Most American Way... She Sued the Director of DHS!
Written by: Sam Orlando
ALEXANDRIA, VA - At a time when the United States is fervently sending billions in aid to Ukraine, one Ukrainian citizen is left wondering: “Why can't my immigration papers get a smidge of that attention?”
Liudmyla Shyshko, a resident of Germantown, Maryland, has found herself in a bureaucratic pickle. Having waited for over three years for her Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, to be processed, she has now taken the matter to court. Her plight underscores a vexing irony: America's zeal to aid Ukraine on the global stage isn’t translating to streamlining processes for individual Ukrainians on American soil.
The Legal Quagmire
Shyshko initially filed a Form I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant, which was approved in April 2022 by the Vermont Service Center. Following this, she filed a Form I-485, seeking an adjustment of her status. Despite the requisite paperwork, Shyshko's application remains in limbo, prompting her recent lawsuit against Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, among others.
When Billions Go Overseas, but Paperwork Stays Put
The U.S.' generous financial commitment to Ukraine, aimed at bolstering the country in its struggle against Russian aggression, stands in stark contrast to the plight of individuals like Shyshko. The satire isn't lost on those familiar with her case: we can fast-track billions in foreign aid, but can't seem to streamline a paperwork process?
Is the System to Blame?
Many are wondering if the inefficiencies are a symptom of a broader systemic issue. Shyshko’s case shines a spotlight on a convoluted immigration system that often leaves individuals in years-long holding patterns, facing endless hurdles and red tape.
A Camera-Worthy Drama, Without the Cameras
The pièce de résistance of this Kafkaesque drama? Shyshko's application seems to have gotten caught up in a veritable game of hot potato between the USCIS Vermont Service Center and the Defendant Washington Field Office.
What could go wrong when two federal government offices collaborate? According to Shyshko's lawsuit, just about everything!
For many Ukrainians, America is the land of hope and promise. However, for Shyshko and likely countless others, it appears more as a land of paperwork purgatory. One can only hope that Shyshko's lawsuit brings about some resolution - or at the very least, sheds light on the urgency to streamline the immigration process for individuals who, despite the macro-politics, are just looking for a place to call home.
Note to readers: If bureaucracy were an Olympic sport, it seems the U.S. Immigration Office would be bringing home the gold. Yet, the real champions here are individuals like Shyshko, tirelessly navigating the maze, in the pursuit of the American Dream.