Tijuana, Mexico — At the US-Mexico border, Ukrainians have allowed Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s homeland to enter the United States and stay for a year without fear of deportation.
Several Ukrainians have told Reuters that they have been granted permission to stay in the country until 2023 after passing through a checkpoint in the city of Tijuana in northern Mexico this week.
A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official briefed on the issue said Ukrainians have given Ukrainians a one-year temporary “humanitarian parole.”
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the CBP and the Border Security Agency, did not respond to requests for comment. The DHS has stated in the past that all border parole decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Ukrainians reported traveling to a series of countries to go to the United States, where they wanted to find shelter, stay with relatives, and rebuild their lives.
Alex Mack, a 24-year-old Ukrainian who refused to reveal his full name for fear of retaliation, said authorities stamped his passport to allow him to stay for a year.
“It’s a crazy situation. He told Reuters when he was waiting in the sun for more than an hour to cross the border in Tijuana on Tuesday.” I couldn’t plan my work because of the war, I don’t have a job and I can’t. “
Alex explained how he was supposed to return to Kyiv on February 25 from his trip to Uganda, but when Russia invaded a day ago, a friend advised him not to do so. Russia sees an attack on a Ukrainian city as a “special military operation”.
According to the United Nations, more than 3 million Ukrainians have fled the fighting, with the majority evacuating to neighboring countries. At least 310 people arrived in Tijuana by plane this month, said Jesus Luis Uribe, the representative of the Mexican government for Baja California.
The U.S.-Mexico border is closed to most asylum seekers under a pandemic-era policy known as Title 42, but Ukrainians are waiting to claim to border authorities in a line of immigrants. I explained that I would move to the front line.
Reuters saw more than 20 Ukrainians enter the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I want temporary protection,” Alex said, “until the war stops. I know I don’t want to be a refugee.”
A group of Democrats urged President Joe Biden this month to increase refugee entry and allow Ukrainians with families in the United States to enter faster with humanitarian parole.
Villa Krashiuk, who fled with her family from the besieged southern city of Mykolaiv, said some Russians at the Tijuana border crossing would prioritize Ukrainians entering the United States if they presented their passports.
After being cross-examined by US immigration authorities, the family was placed in the United States. The DHS stamp on her passport read “PAROLED” and her handwritten date stipulated that she could stay in the United States for a year.
Krasiuk recalled how officials took their families to San Ysidro on the California side of the border, returned their passports, and said they were “great” and prayed for them.
Mexico has also recorded an increase in Russian immigrants fleeing their homes amid heightened tensions. With the exception of Russians, Reuters witnesses saw Mexicans and Colombians seeking asylum at the border.
Maryna Sokolovska, an American citizen who left Ukraine with her cousin and her child, took her family to the United States after Odyssey via Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Amsterdam, Mexico City, and Tijuana.
“It was a miracle that we were put in, including the baby, four hours later,” said 35-year-old Sokolovska, a relative sponsor in the United States.
Sokolovska, a dentist trained to run a video production company from Beverly Hills, said the mother and child were given a year’s vacation to stay under humanitarian parole.
Sokolovska said his cousin’s husband had traveled to Lviv in western Ukraine to fight and the areas that lived outside Kyiv were attacked by Russian troops.
By Daina Beth Solomon and Dasha Afanasieva