With the Russian takeover of Crimea and political turmoil throughout Ukraine, many people are asking whether the United States will grant asylum or protected status to those affected by the conflict.
Unfortunately for Ukrainian or Russian nationals who fear returning to the region, there is not any organized program to provide protected status in the United States at the time of this update (Updated October 1, 2014). As yet, our government has not declared Temporary Protected Status for Ukraine, nor has the United Nations High Commission on Refugees begun operations in the region.
Asylum is one option for Ukrainians or Russians in the United States who fear persecution at home. However, people should be careful not to fall prey to immigration consultants who promise easy results or who claim that "everyone" from the area will get asylum. As I have written before when conflict erupted in Syria, asylum is a very personal form of relief. Each person much make his or her own case as to why he or she in particular has credible fear of persecution if he or she returns home. Many people from Crimea and surrounding areas may be granted asylum in the coming months, but it is also likely that many such claims will be rejected.
Any foreign person who fears persecution and wishes to claim asylum in the United States should consult with an immigration attorney before submitting any papers to the government. For those who cannot afford a private attorney, many non-profit organizations offer excellent services for asylum-seekers.