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The number of Ukrainians seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border is increasing day by day

“Roughly right now in Tijuana there are about 1,500 Ukrainians,” said Enrique Lucero, director of migrant affairs for the city. “We have had a surprising influx in the last four days, mainly because after the conflict we started to see arrivals from March 11,” and the number of people arriving has increased dramatically since then, Lucero said.

Inna Levien, who lives in Orange County, California, and is part of a group leading volunteer efforts to help Ukrainians near the border, told CNN that the number of Ukrainians has quadrupled in the past three days.

Lucero told CNN that while he expects all of the migrants to enter the United States, US authorities have been slow to process them, and that’s why so many people have gathered.

“They process about 100, 150 a day or even 200 a day and it takes almost three hours to process them,” Lucero said.That’s why we saw this minicamp on the border.”

The Department of Homeland Security is allowing Ukrainians, on a case-by-case basis, to be exempted from Trump-era pandemic restrictions that allowed deportation of migrants encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border and who continued to be used by the Administration Biden.
These restrictions will end on May 23, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday.

CNN contacted the State Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but did not receive a response on Saturday.

Offer a little relief

Levien’s volunteer group – made up of Californian mothers who met on Facebook – provided arriving families with essentials such as food, blankets, tents and toys to occupy their children.

The number of Ukrainians seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border is increasing day by day

Those who can afford it are encouraged to stay in hotels, which cost around $40 to $60 a night, Levien said.

The group also helps by putting people arriving at the border on a list and giving them a number, so they don’t have to queue the whole time they wait to get in – a wait that can take longer. 24 hours. .

But the city of Tijuana has also helped bring some relief, Levien said: The city recently converted a bus stop into a temporary shelter while a network of churches stepped up to help house waiting families. their turn to be processed.

The city is also working to convert a sports facility into a temporary shelter, Lucero said.

“We were told that around 500 migrants will be arriving on these next flights, so it will increase to two thousand over the course of the day,” he said.

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.

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