TIJUANA (Border Report) — Despite repeated warnings, Ukrainian migrants continue to stream into the city of Tijuana even though they’ve been told they won’t be able to enter the U.S. like others did previous to April 25.
The White House launched the “United 4 Ukraine” program, which forces migrants to seek asylum in Mexico City or, preferably, Europe.
The new rules prohibit Ukrainians from entering the U.S. via ports of entry except in extreme cases.
Vitaliy Demyanik, one of the volunteers in Tijuana who has been helping the Ukrainian refugees, said about 1,000 migrants crossed the border last Sunday and into Monday morning.
But they are considered to be the last as this pathway is now closed.
The state of Baja California says 18,400 Ukrainians were able to cross the border into California since January, most of them from Tijuana into San Diego through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
In the last 24 hours, between 30 and 40 migrants reportedly arrived in Tijuana and were taken to a shelter.
Demyanik said they expect fewer and fewer migrants to make it to Tijuana in the coming days and volunteers have begun the process of sending some of them back to Mexico City, where they will be able to stay at another shelter and formally apply for humanitarian visas.
According to program guidelines, If Ukrainians are up-to-date on their vaccines, have sponsors in the U.S. and their backgrounds are approved, they will be given 2-year visas and flown directly to the United States from Mexico City or Europe.
“The United 4 Ukraine program was sudden and that’s why many are trying to figure out how to get to Mexico City, but crossing along the border is not going to work,” said Demyanik.
He also stated migrants will be allowed to stay at the Tijuana shelter for up to a week as they figure out their next steps.
But the city of Tijuana is expecting the shelter to close by May 5.