Ukrainian refugees face new rules to enter US, remain stuck in Mexico

3 months 6 days 19 hours ago Monday, May 02 2022 May 2, 2022 May 02, 2022 5:35 PM May 02, 2022 in News - Local

Ukrainians who are stuck in Mexico after the rules for refugees changed last week are facing more challenges. Now, advocates are doing what they can to raise awareness and try to fix the problem.

Last week, new rules went into effect for Ukrainians fleeing the war. To enter the U.S., an application would need to show a sponsorship, vaccinations and more.

READ ALSO: Ukrainian refugees seeking asylum at McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge  

The change affected the impromptu system volunteer Alex Shchekin had in place to help fleeing Ukrainians seek humanitarian parole at the Reynosa bridge.

"We hit a wall," said Shchekin, a former soviet refugee.

This week, Shchekin is in Washington D.C. working to meet with lawmakers and journalists to highlight the problem. That change, in effect, made it harder for those Ukrainians who flew to Mexico on the first available flight, planning to show up at a U.S. Port of Entry.

"I tell them not to, but they're still flying in," Shchekin said. "We put them in Cancun. It's a little safer and we have people that can watch after them."

READ ALSO: US to welcome Ukraine refugees but no longer through Mexico  

Now the clusters of Ukrainians in Monterrey, Reynosa, and the much larger camp in Tijuana, are looking to a new central camp set up in Mexico City, but advocates say it's not enough.

"The conditions were and still are fairly bad,” said Joshua Rosen, a volunteer raising funds for Ukrainian refugees. “So, it's very difficult to stay there, especially for women and children."

The new procedures for Ukrainians are still being navigated.

READ ALSO: Ukrainians denied entry into the US at Matamoros bridge, family members say  

"Most of them have relatives in the U.S. who can help them out once they get here, but that process is, as Alex said, very ambiguous right now," said Rosen.

Volunteers are now encouraging Ukrainians to apply for the U.S. refugee program from camps in Europe and are working to help those currently stranded in Mexico.

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