TIJUANA, Baja California — As many Ukrainian families flee their country and head to the southern border of the United States seeking asylum, some are being let in while others have to wait.
However, some Russian families with proper documentation who meet Title 42 standards are not even being considered.
“It’s heartbreaking to me because America is better than this,” said Diana, who could not contain her tears.
She is the aunt of Regina and Ruvim, two Russian teenagers who fled their country and are now stuck at the southern border. They did not want to say their last name because of fear of repercussions and to protect their identity.
Diana explained that they have proper documentation and are vaccinated, but once immigration found out where they are from, the siblings were denied entry.
“And I tried to talk to the man, and he said what country. I replied Russia. He then immediately responded with, from Russia it's a no,” said Diana.
Two days before the war, the two siblings took a flight to Istanbul, and from there made it to Tijuana.
Their parents decided to have them flee, after Russia announced that every male by the age of 18 or older would possibly be forced into combat. They were hoping to reunite with their aunt who lives in Fresno, California. Now the two currently remain stuck in Mexico, while their aunt stays with them at a hotel in Tijuana till they work on their case.
“People judge an entire nation and assume they all want to go to war, when that’s not the case,” said the aunt. She realizes that their only two options as of now is to stay in Tijuana or return to Russia.
However, when asked what would happen to them if they returned to their country, the aunt responded with “they would be imprisoned or killed.”
Ukrainian and Russian families seeking asylum say immigration officials are using the Title 42 policy as an excuse to turn away migrant crowds.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for families to be expelled under the policy a person needs to pose a health risk or enter unlawfully. These are two things that do not apply to Regina and Ruvim.
Now the family has started a GoFundMe account, but say because they are Russian, it has been put on hold and are hoping it becomes available so people can help with legal expenses.
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