To keep youth from being deported
By Emily Banks Wooten
Heights Conservation, a 501(c)3 foundation dedicated to the preservation of green spaces and ecologies through educational scholarships and project sponsorships, has set up a dedicated account “For the Benefit of Daniil Rusanyuk” and has raised approximately $12,000. However, an additional $4,000 is needed by the end of this week.
Daniil came to Livingston last year as an exchange student at Livingston High School. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the spring, Daniil’s family was forced to flee their homes in Kyiv. His father has since returned to Kyiv and is serving in the city’s defense. His mother is currently a refugee in Italy. His parents are displaced, unemployed and completely without resources.
Although Daniil remains here in Livingston with his host family, he is facing imminent deportation. If he is returned to Ukraine, he will be conscripted, and forced to fight in the war. Several people and organizations are working to get Daniil into college and protect him from deportation.
For Daniil to stay in the United States and go to college with an F-1 student visa, he must demonstrate financial resources (i.e., a dedicated account, managed for his sole benefit) of approximately $18,000. Raising that much money for Daniil’s student visa has been a challenge. Daniil is actively pursuing scholarship opportunities with several universities, along with conventional types of financial aid. However, most scholarships are awarded 10-12 months prior to college enrollment. Because Russia invaded Ukraine just five months ago, the vast majority of scholarship and financial aid sources are already exhausted.
However, there is the existence of a much more achievable path. In April of this year, Daniil filed for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), under 87 CFR §23211. With TPS status, Daniil could enroll in any university without having to demonstrate $18,000 in dedicated resources. More importantly, TPS status would protect him from deportation which could be a virtual death sentence.
Approval of Daniil’s application for TPS status would relieve him from the financial burden of an F-1 student visa. However, Daniil has had no response of any kind from USCIS.
Lone Star College has offered Daniil a full ride (all tuition, books, and health insurance) but does not have student housing. Work is underway with Lone Star to find a faculty member to host him, as the Lone Star College faculty is very active in hosting international students. Raising the additional $4,000 by the end of the week will be sufficient for Lone Star College to file his F-1 application.
Daniil’s desire is to stay in the states and earn a college degree in construction management so that he may ultimately return home and help rebuild his country.