Mon, June 27, 2022


Hundreds of Ukrainians shelter in Mexico as they wait to cross U.S. border

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees who fled to Mexico were transferred to a sports centre that was converted into a government shelter in the northern city of Tijuana, authorities said on Monday (April 5), as they wait to be allowed to cross the border and enter the United States.

Some 400 Ukrainians, about 30% of whom are children, arrived in Tijuana on Saturday (April 2) and Sunday (April 3) after entering the country through airports in Cancun and Mexico City, said Enrique Lucero, Tijuana's migration affairs director.

They joined a growing number of Ukrainians who have escaped war in their home country and have crammed into improvised camps near the international port of entry, which connects Tijuana with California.

As of Sunday night, Lucero said an estimated 1,700 Ukrainians have arrived in Tijuana in recent weeks.

"We are hoping the United States will increase the number of migrant affairs and border personnel so that the flow will be faster," Lucero said. "That way in three to four weeks the situation could be neutralised."

The increase of Ukrainians in Tijuana comes as U.S. officials are ramping up efforts to process migrants and asylum seekers, regardless of nationality, amid an expected increase in arrivals as the United States lifts a pandemic-era policy that effectively shut down asylum at the border.

In the shelter, families of migrants rested, ate, and played.

''I'm really surprised about how people have been helping us here, the conditions of the shelter are perfect," Ukrainian citizens seeking asylum in the U.S. Yevhen Shyshkin told Reuters.

On Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement that the agency is ramping up personnel and resources at the southwest border, without providing details about the number of agents being deployed or specific locations for deployments.

Lucero said he was hopeful that the U.S. officials would speed up Ukrainian migrants' processing and that the shelter should ease housing issues until then.

In late March, U.S. President Joe Biden said that the United States would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians to resettle in the country this year.

Published : April 06, 2022

By : Reuters