WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration offered humanitarian relief to Ukrainians in the United States on Thursday, which could protect as many as 30,000 people from being deported.

Ukrainians can remain for up to 18 months under the federal program known as Temporary Protected Status.

“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence” that has forced Ukrainians “to seek refuge in other countries,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said.

The program is for people fleeing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. As many as 30,000 Ukrainians may benefit, according to The Migration Policy Institute.

Refugee advocates applauded the move.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, called it “a concrete show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Protecting Ukrainian families from deportation is the least we can do amid a Russian onslaught that has targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure.”