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Russians seeking asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry

Posted at 10:31 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 13:31:15-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Like Ukrainians, many Russians are also leaving their homeland in fear of danger and retaliation amid the war, and dozens of them are now sitting at the U.S. southern border hoping to make their claim for asylum.

Siblings Ruvim and Regina left Russia on March 8 and traveled to Istanbul, Mexico City, and then to Tijuana.

Ruvim just turned 18, and in Russia, that means he would have had to go into combat and fight for Russia in the war on Ukraine.

His 19-year-old sister Regina has been outspoken and critical about Russia's actions, protesting against her country's invasion of Ukraine. Together, they felt leaving Russia was their safest option.

The pair have family in Fresno, and they thought the U.S. would allow them to make an asylum claim, but they were turned away.

They say a Customs and Border Protection officer told them they were denied because of Title 42, a policy put in place at the start of the pandemic by the Trump administration. Citing public health, the policy expels asylum seekers without being able to make their claim.

Ruvim and Regina are now spending the night at a hotel in Tijuana, while other Russians wait at San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The Biden administration has yet to comment on Russians or Ukrainians that have arrived at the U.S. border in recent weeks. They did announce a partial end to title 42 last Friday, but that only applied to unaccompanied children.

ABC 10News reached out to CBP officials for comment, but no response was given as of the publication of this story.