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Mass. House resolution calls for helping resettle Ukrainian refugees

Demonstrators against the war in Ukraine placed a heart made of balloons in the colors of the Ukrainian flag on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Demonstrators against the war in Ukraine placed a heart made of balloons in the colors of the Ukrainian flag on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

The Massachusetts House plans to take up a resolution as soon as Thursday calling on the Biden administration and Gov. Charlie Baker to give "expedited consideration" to Ukrainian refugees seeking to enter the United States and resettle in Massachusetts.

As Russia's war against Ukraine continues to prompt millions to flee the country, House Speaker Ron Mariano, with the support of Minority Leader Brad Jones, circulated a resolution on Tuesday intended to demonstrate the House's solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their fight to protect their sovereignty.

"Massachusetts House of Representatives hereby calls upon the Federal government and the Baker Administration to immediately provide for expedited consideration for Ukrainian refugees seeking to enter the United States and Massachusetts," the resolution states, in part.

The House approved $10 million in a mid-year spending bill passed last week to assist with the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees seeking to relocate to Massachusetts. The United Nations has estimated that 3 million Ukrainians have fled the country so far, with many crossing over into Poland, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said that number could climb as high as 4 million.

The House meets in a formal session on Thursday, and Mariano gave legislators until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to sign on to the resolution, according to an email shared with the News Service.

Baker signed an executive order earlier this month directing all executive branch agencies to review all state contracts and terminate any agreements with Russian state-owned companies. That order also directed the state Office for Refugees and Immigrants to work with the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and other agencies to support Ukrainian immigrants and refugees fleeing the conflict.

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