WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) — Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country and heading to the U.S.-Mexico border are relying on various agencies to get into the U.S. This weekend, a Bay Area Ukrainian man pitched in.
After connecting with volunteers at the Christian Church Calvary San Diego, a humanitarian hub for Ukrainian refugees in Southern California, Michael Milshtein and a group of more than a dozen Ukrainians all living in the Bay Area crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to help connect asylum seekers with resources.
“For some people, it may be rather difficult to get to the border,” Milshtein said. “But to get across the border, there’s a line and they’re allowing… I’ve heard the number 300 yesterday, meaning just 300 people were allowed to cross the border during the day.”
The United States has agreed to accept up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.
“A hundred thousand is not enough. Four million left the country, but as of last week, 4 million were displaced,” Milshtein added.
Whether traveling with a visa or simply a Ukrainian passport, refugees can claim asylum at the border. That allows them to stay in the States while their cases are processed.
Milshtein is originally from Odessa, Ukraine, but has lived in Walnut Creek with his family for nearly two decades. He has helped coordinate fundraisers for refugees and those displaced since the Russian invasion.
Lana Scherbakova lives in San Francisco and was among the volunteers who traveled from the Bay Area down south. She helped refugees who cross the border connect to flights to other parts of the country.
“For me, these people are heroes as because they try to save their children,” she said.
But after weeks of traveling overseas, she says the refugees are also exhausted and have yet to settle down.