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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – 1000’s of Ukrainians are flying to Mexico after which crossing into the U.S. close to San Diego.
For a few month now, volunteers have run a makeshift camp to greet the refugees as they stroll by the San Ysidro Port of Entry from Tijuana, Mexico, into the U.S.
Volunteers greet them with clapping and cheers, coming in a single after the opposite, every with an identical story: a number of days of journey, an exhausting journey and fear for the long run.
Alona Bastys welcomed her sister Iryna this week.
Iryna spent a number of days on planes and in a processing middle in Mexico.
“There aren’t any phrases to explain what we really feel,” Bastys stated.
Elena Fetisova greeted her teenage sister in Tijuana on day 5 of the journey from Ukraine.
“My sister is 15, and she or he’s coming straight from Ukraine,” Fetisova stated.
And 22-year-old Nataliya Povod was on a examine overseas journey within the Czech Republic when the battle began. Her program ended this month.
“In April, I needed to go residence. However I understood that there isn’t any option to go residence,” Povod stated.
For the reason that battle began, 4.6 million people have escaped Ukraine, many to close by European international locations, in response to the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR).
“I spoke to this girl. She’s 62 years previous. She had her personal hair studio salon, and she or he simply didn’t need to depart. She’s like, that is my residence,” stated Alina Gordon, founding father of the Church of Music San Diego and volunteer on the border. “The night time earlier than she determined to go away, they dropped a phosphorus bomb outdoors her residence.”
Church buildings, nonprofits and different organizations are serving to individuals on either side of the border, offering meals, water, scorching drinks, blankets and even books and toys for youths.
They’re additionally providing transportation, short-term housing and free authorized companies.
Alina Gordon says she immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine together with her dad and mom in 1994.
“They left every part behind. However the distinction again then versus what’s taking place now’s that we had a yr to organize for the immigration,” Gordon stated. “Many of the households that I am assembly proper now, 99.9% left in a single day. They usually have a backpack with them. And most of their belongings are nonetheless again in Ukraine.”
Immigration legal professionals say strict visa necessities, lacking paperwork and pandemic restrictions have made it troublesome for Ukrainians to legally enter the U.S.
Crossing by Mexico after which making use of for asylum on the border is faster.
“It would not matter the place you are from. If you wish to enter the US, it is advisable to have some form of documentation to enter. We often have that in our passport,” stated Alejandro San Miguel, an immigration lawyer in McAllen, Texas, which is on the southwest border. “People who should not have that, they’ll all the time current themselves at a port of entry … they usually can request asylum.”
Asylum claims within the U.S. can take years to be resolved, however for a lot of, simply making it to American soil is a victory.
“I really feel that I am in the best place proper now,” Povod stated. “And I felt like whenever you simply cross the border and exit, lots of people are simply serving to… So it feels such as you got here residence.”
For Elena Fetisova, she tries to remain involved together with her household in Ukraine each day.
“On daily basis I name them (and say) “Hey, are you alive there?”
Fetisova, 34, moved to the U.S. when she was 19 years previous. Her sister, who arrived Monday, is simply 15 years previous.
“It was very laborious for her to even fly right here by Mexico Metropolis. They simply put her within the room. They did not inform her something till her passport and her telephone from her and the poor child is sitting there for like one hour and she or he would not know what to do. In order that was very scary,” Fetisova stated.
Volunteers say they’ve seen the variety of Ukrainians crossing go from just a few dozen in mid-march to 1000’s., lots of them girls and youngsters.
“We went from them processing about 100 to 150 refugees per day to now they’re processing about 50 per two hours,” Gordon stated.
Customs and Border Safety updates its website every month with the earlier month’s information on unlawful crossings and encounters.
Numbers from March haven’t been posted as of April 13, and a spokesperson with CBP declined to supply them on to Fox Information earlier than they go surfing.
CBS News experiences that almost 10,000 Ukrainians with out correct documentation have crossed between Feb. 1 and April 6, however CBP wouldn’t affirm these numbers to Fox Information. Additionally they report 41,000 “authorized entries” of Ukrainians getting into the U.S. with correct paperwork like visas and passports.
President Biden has stated the U.S. would settle for 100,000 Ukrainian refugees into the nation, however the administration hasn’t given extra particulars.