Local couple starts online petition for Ukrainian refugee program

A husband and wife living in Jacksonville are urging the U.S. to accept Ukrainian refugees immediately.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – A husband and wife living in Jacksonville are urging the U.S. to accept Ukrainian refugees immediately.

Ukrainian native Mykhaylo Gryb moved to Jacksonville in 2005 with his wife Ashley Testa.

As the humanitarian crisis unfolded in Ukraine, their only focus was to get their family out safely and into America, but with no official Ukrainian refugee program offered in the U.S., their hope to be reunited again quickly diminished.

“We just feel like the least the United States could do is provide assistance to refugees and allow to come to the United States especially those who have family here and sponsors to support them,” said Ashley Testa.

The couple began an online petition after struggling to get relatives to the states following Russia’s invasion.

“I personally don’t understand why we as Americans cannot help families reunite like my family and myself,” Mykhaylo Gryb.

Watching this crisis unfold from thousands of miles away left the couple feeling hopeless. That’s why the couple started a petition asking President Biden to launch a refugee program to help Ukrainians escape to America.

“I called my sister and I talked to my mom and they’re crying all the time. It’s just frustrating,” Mykhaylo Gryb.

The good news is that some of Mykhaylo’s family including his mother were able to escape to Poland, but it was a rigorous and dangerous journey. It is typically a 5-hour drive to get to Poland from where they live but it took 5 days because of the invasion.

No matter how long it takes, they said they are not giving up on the people they love as the couple still has relatives in Ukraine hoping to escape.

To sign the petition, click here.


About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.