(NewsNation) — After escaping into other European countries, hundreds of Ukrainians have been flying into Mexico to come to the U.S.
Those crossing the border say American officials are allowing Ukrainians to enter the United States and stay for a year on humanitarian parole, without fear of deportation, Reuters reported.
Their presence has especially grown in Tijuana.
At least 310 Ukrainians got there by air this month, said Jesus Ruiz Uribe, the Mexican government’s delegate for Baja California state.
Although the Department of Homeland Security is not publicly commenting on whether it is granting humanitarian parole for Ukrainian refugees, many coming across the southern border into California indicate it’s happening on a case-by-case basis.
People can qualify for humanitarian parole if they have what U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services says is a “compelling emergency,” or if there is an “urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit” to letting them temporarily enter the United States.
More and more of the Ukrainian refugees displaced by war are filing into southern California every day. Russian attacks on Ukraine have caused more than 3 million people to leave the country, according to the United Nations.
“Our apartment, which we rented, was destroyed,” Ukrainian asylum seeker Kyrlo Sokolov said. “Last year, we lived in Kyiv and now it’s totally destroyed … This is all we have. This is our clothes.”
American Maryna Sokolovska went to Ukraine to retrieve two relatives and be their U.S. sponsor so she could bring them to California.
One of her loved ones “doesn’t have anyone” else, Sokolovska said.
“Her parents have been without connection for the last six days; we don’t know if they’re still alive or not,” Sokolovska said.
Ukrainians are just a sliver of the roughly half a million people coming to this port of entry every day.
Migrants of other groups are understanding but angry as they watch more Ukrainians walk into the U.S. after they are turned back.
Those assisting Ukrainians say these refugees are facing immediate danger.
“They left their homes, they left everything … cars, houses, everything. They have left their business,” said Anna Curry, a Ukrainian assisting refugees. “If it’s safe to go back, maybe in the future they will; whatever they choose to do.”
The Department of Homeland Security has not responded to requests for comment from NewsNation, so it is not clear whether this is only happening along the southern border.
This month, a group of Democratic lawmakers urged President Joe Biden to increase refugee admissions and allow those coming from Ukraine with family members in the United States to get humanitarian parole.
Reuters contributed to this report.