Politics Foreign Affairs Culture We're Hiring

Ukrainians Head For The Southern Border

The Biden administration’s response thus far to Ukrainians looking to come to the U.S. has been to pour gasoline on a powder keg.

Hundreds of Ukrainians have headed for the U.S.-Mexico border since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, and the Biden administration’s response has been to pour gasoline on a powder keg.

Jesús Alejandro Ruiz Uribe, a federal delegate for the Mexican state of Baja California, reportedly claimed that nearly 500 Ukrainians have arrived in Tijuana and the surrounding area since the Russian invasion began on February 24. Ruiz Uribe added that most of the Ukrainian migrants have not requested to stay in public or private shelters, and are well-off enough to pay for their own housing, transportation, and other expenses incurred over the course of their attempt to get into the United States.

Before these Ukrainians head north to the San Ysidro Port of Entry on the U.S. border, they are reportedly arriving in Mexico through the airports in Cancun or Mexico City, where the Mexican government is providing them with six-month tourist visas.

The Biden administration is reportedly attempting to devise a strategy to fast-track Ukrainian asylum seekers on the southern border, as well as some of the 3 million refugees who have fled to other European countries who have family members in the United States. Census estimates from 2019 show nearly 1 million people with Ukrainian ancestry in the U.S.

“If there are Ukrainians who are not able to remain safely and for whom resettlement in the United States is a better option, we will work with [the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] and the E.U. to consider them. That is not a quick process, and so we will be looking at other options and what more we can do,” a spokesperson for the State Department said Thursday, though they added that the U.S. expects most of those displaced by the war will want to remain in Europe. 

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told The American Conservative that “there’s no excuse” for Ukrainians showing up on the southern border. “They came through European countries, where they were free to remain, and chose to try to come here instead.”

Krikorian said U.S. policy should have a clearly stated goal before accepting large numbers of Ukrainian refugees. “If the point is to shelter people til the war is over, then bringing them here to join relatives is counterproductive—none of them will ever return. And with the prospect of an agreement, we should hold off on permanent resettlement and instead provide aid to Poland and the other frontline states to care for the people who crossed over from next door.” Krikorian added that if it becomes “clear the war will drag on for years, Afghanistan-style, then it would be the time to discuss permanent resettlement for some of them, though even then, the vast majority will remain in Europe.”

Earlier this month, the Biden administration gave Ukrainians already in the United States Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS will be granted for 18 months to any Ukrainian who has been in the U.S. since March 1, which the Department of Homeland Security claims will cover more than 75,000 individuals—more than double prior estimates.

What’s more, just last week the Biden administration reversed a decision to bar a Ukrainian woman and her three children from entering the U.S. because of Title 42. The Ukrainian woman in her mid-thirties and her children—14, 12 , and 6 years old—were allowed to enter the U.S. after being processed in San Diego, setting a worrying precedent in the process.

Section 265 of U.S. Code Title 42 allows the executive branch to “prohibit…the introduction” of migrants into the U.S. if “there is serious danger of the introduction of [a communicable] disease into the United States.” Under President Donald Trump, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) used this law to issue an emergency regulation on March 20, 2020 to turn away migrants attempting to cross the border. Since the regulation was put in place, more than 1.2 million migrants have been prevented from entering the U.S. under Title 42.

Biden’s pro-migrant messaging during the campaign and policies enacted early in his tenure have thrown America’s southern border into chaos. The unprecedented surge in migrants has continued since January 2021, despite the fact that Biden has kept Title 42 provisions in place. Now, pressure from congressional Democrats and immigrant activist groups is causing the Biden administration to consider rescinding the Title 42 emergency regulations. The Biden administration has already lifted the Title 42 restrictions for unaccompanied minors seeking entry to the United States.

With these developments in mind, it’s not hard to imagine the Ukrainian refugee situation could quickly get out of hand.

Thus far in fiscal year 2022, which began on October 1, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data show that more than 5,500 Ukrainians have already attempted to cross into the U.S. illegally. The CBP data also say that 85 percent (4,807) of these Ukrainian migrants were single adults—which often means single adult men—and only 15 percent (723) were members of proclaimed familial units traveling together.

But it’s not just an influx of Ukrainians that could exacerbate the ongoing crisis at the southern border. Migrants from Mexico and the Northern Triangle nations are still arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border with their own aspirations to get into the United States. The Biden administration’s willingness to be flexible with Ukrainian migrants has reportedly inflamed tensions among migrants waiting for their shot at entry.

“There’s a lot of confusion since President Biden declared all Ukrainians are welcome in the U.S. but there’s no system in place to receive them,” Patrick Murphy, the director of the migrant house in Tijuana, told Border Report. “But it’s going to be easier for them, and I’m sorry to say this, but since they are fair-skinned, they are going to get preferential treatment.”

One male migrant named Ricardo, who is awaiting entry to the U.S. via San Ysidro, told Border Report that he is “seeing Ukrainian families with children being allowed in.”

“But if we go up to officers it’s ‘No, no, no,’” Ricardo added. “In Mexico, there’s also a war going on started by cartels on Mexican residents.”

It’s not very hard to imagine these migrants from south of the border organizing—or being organized—and attempting to cross in numbers that overwhelm border agents, as they have on multiple occasions over the course of the current migrant crisis. If they do, or they attempt to enter the U.S. in blatant disregard for what remains of Title 42 and other migrant mitigation policies, then the already record-high crossings of about 150,000 per month could pale in comparison to the numbers we could see just a few months from now.



Become a Member today for a growing stake in the conservative movement.
Join here!
Join here