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Ukrainians Entering US through Mexico

This is not legal advice, nor do I recommend this route. I am simply writing this to update the public on the current situation.


Some Ukrainians have flown to Mexico, presented themselves to US border officials, and been admitted to the US. As discussed in my earlier blogs, commercial carriers get fined if they let people on board who do not have a valid visa to enter the US. The wait for visas at a US consulate or embassy in Europe, assuming a person is eligible at all, is long. Some Ukrainians have therefore elected to fly into Mexico, where they currently do not need a visa to enter.


Most news is anecdotal at this point, because the US has not released information about any formal admission policies. Nevertheless, anecdotally, it appears that people with valid passports have been permitted to enter. Some are Ukrainians with US citizen family members and pending family based immigrant visas. Some with family members who have valid non-immigrant visas in the US. Some without family in the US. Most have been paroled into the US for 1 year. Some have been permitted to enter but issued Notices to Appear in immigration court. Several have been detained by DHS in detention centers, including children.


The Mexican side of the US Mexico border remains a dangerous place for displaced people. It is rife with traffickers of all sorts and people pretending to be lawyers and advocates and non-governmental workers, but who aren't, and who mean harm. If you do decide to talk to someone volunteering, make sure they show you their identification, verify it, and take a photo and send it to a loved one. If they are bona fide, they should have no objection.


The lines for Ukrainians seeking entry, today, were reportedly 10 hours long. Ukrainians would be wise to use the pedestrian bridges; don't listen to anyone recommending that you get in their car and attempt to cross by vehicle. Don't listen to anyone telling you about "what to say." Tell the truth to the border patrol officers. Don't let reporters speak to you or photograph you, and definitely not without your permission. Since you may be detained and lose access to your phone, memorize phone numbers of your family or a contact in the US.


Parole is not status; it is simply permission to remain. In these cases, it is being issued directly by CBP; no humanitarian parole application is required. Since parole is not status, people who are able to enter (or family or friends whom they contact as they are about to enter) should ultimately seek counsel from an experienced immigration lawyer,

as everyone's situation is different.


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