APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – As more people flee Ukraine to escape Russia’s invasion, could we eventually see refugees coming to the Fox Valley? 

The answer to that question is up in the air right now, but local refugee aid organizations say they are prepared if Ukrainian refugees end up coming over to the United States.

“We’re not sure, we’re waiting for the government to make some decisions,” said Tami McLaughlin who is the World Relief Fox Valley Director.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki had previously told the Associated Press that the U.S. would accept Ukrainian refugees. But there is a process refugees must go through before coming to the U.S. that involves interviews, medical tests, and security screenings which all take time to complete.

The U.S. could also admit Ukrainian refugees on parole which would allow them to come over and live here on humanitarian grounds. Parole status allows refugees to work legally, but doesn’t put them on a pathway for permanent U.S. residency.

Ukrainian refugees can also apply for temporary visas to live in the United States but would need to prove their intent to eventually return to Ukraine.

The U.S. has also designated Ukrainians already living in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which prevents them from being deported.

Most Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries like Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia.

After helping 180 Afghan refugees this winter settle into the Fox Valley area after leaving Afghanistan when the United States pulled out of that country, McLaughlin said one thing she has learned is how supportive the community is of refugees.

State Representative Ron Tusler said he’s also supportive of Ukrainian refugees coming to the Fox Valley.

In a recent statement, Tusler said “I want the freedom-loving, anti-Socialist Ukrainians to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers and that our arms are open to welcome them to settle, here, in Wisconsin’s Third Assembly District.”

“We can acclimate them in pretty smoothly and then have somebody that is going to help our businesses, we need employees,” said Tusler.

Catholic Charities of the Dioceses of Green Bay is another local organization that helps refugees. Like World Relief Fox Valley, they tell Local 5 News that they are waiting to see if refugees from Ukraine will end up coming to the United States.