By Anthony Monzon

The Biden Administration is offering tens of thousands of Ukrainians living in the United States temporary legal status amid Russia's invasion of the country.

The Department of Homeland Security has created an 18-month Temporary Protected Status program for Ukrainians, allowing those who have lived in the U.S. since March 1st to apply for work permits and protection from deportation.

The TPS program is expected to benefit over 75,000 Ukrainians in the United States, according to DHS, including those on temporary student, tourist, or business visas that could expire while fighting continues in their country. Ukrainians in the U.S. without legal permission could also qualify for the program.

“Granting Temporary Protected Status to Ukrainians currently in the U.S. is the right thing to do,” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. “I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues this week to urge the administration to take this step because we must do our part to ensure Ukrainians are not forced to return home as Putin attacks their country. We must stand with the people of Ukraine.”

KIMT News 3's Anthony Monzon was speaking with Senator Klobuchar and Mariana Pykivska, a Ukrainian national working on a Minnesota farm, when the announcement was made Thursday afternoon. Pykivska, who has been traveling to Waverly for 13 years but just returned from Ukraine days ago, calls the decision "incredible."

"Wow, the universe hears us," Pykivska said. "I'm happy to hear that. I'm also hoping the people who want to come, women and girls who want to come to our farm or badly need us, will be still able to come soon because we need the workers."

Pykivska says she has received tons of messages and phone calls from Minnesotans, offering any assistance she may need. Senator Klobuchar adds allowing workers like Mariana to extend their stay is beneficial for Americans and Ukrainians alike.

"Her background in agronomy and landscaping, and the degree she got in Ukraine growing up in a farm family, is really helpful to our state."On a moral level, Klobuchar shares, "all their men between 18 and 60 are taking up arms, are fighting for their country, and so there's going to be a lot of women working that need to send back money, and she's one of them."

TPS designation does not grant beneficiaries permanent residency in the United States, and only applies to those already in the country.