See what life is like for Ukrainians waiting at the US-Mexico border

Ukrainians wait near the US-Mexico border on April 2 for a chance to enter the United States.

Mark Abramson / The New York Times / Redux

Updated 11:23 AM ET, Thu April 14, 2022

Ukrainians wait near the US-Mexico border on April 2 for a chance to enter the United States.

Mark Abramson / The New York Times / Redux

A Mexican border city thousands of miles from Ukraine has become a stopping point for many seeking refuge from the war.

About 1,000 Ukrainians are in Tijuana, Mexico, waiting for a chance to cross into the United States, according to Enrique Lucero, the city’s director of migrant affairs.

These photos show what life is like for Ukrainians in Tijuana: a city-run shelter where hundreds are staying, makeshift encampments near the border, the volunteers who’ve come to help.

The images also reveal a bigger picture: A growing number of Ukrainians are taking this route to the United States, Lucero says, because it’s the only path they have. It’s easy for Europeans, including Ukrainians, to get tourist visas and fly to Mexico, Lucero says. Getting a visa to travel to the United States is far harder.

Even though President Biden has said the US will accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, his administration has not yet created a pathway for Ukrainians fleeing the war. That could change soon; officials told CNN the administration is preparing to roll out a new program for Ukrainians with sponsors in the United States.

But for now, crossing the US-Mexico border is the main route for Ukrainians trying to reach the US, Lucero says. And Tijuana, he says, has become a waiting room.

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