SAN DIEGO – The 14-year-old Ukrainian refugee separated from his family at the San Ysidro Port of Entry early in April has finally been reunited with them.
Ivan Yerashov traveled to the United States with his aunt through Tijuana, Mexico. Both of them spent two days in Tijuana waiting to come across, like thousands of Ukrainian refugees.
Ivan was then separated from his aunt by CBP officials, a procedure done with all unaccompanied minors. Due to Ivan not being with his legal guardian or parents, officials said they needed to verify before he was released.
Ivan spent two days in an immigration detention center with eight other boys. He then was transferred to a facility for unaccompanied minors.
“(A) social worker contacted me and said our case was approved, so we can come and pick up Ivan,” said an elated Vadym Merehzko, the boy’s uncle.
Ivan’s journey to the U.S was longer than most Ukrainian refugees, but soon refugees taking his route won’t have the option at all.
Under a new program Ukrainians coming through Mexico will not be let in, according to the Biden administration. Starting April 25, those people will have to apply to come to the United States in Europe, under “Uniting for Ukraine.”
“They are going to go through a background check before they come here,” said immigration attorney Jacob Sapochnick.
Right now, Sapochnick says Ukrainians at the border are being let into the country under humanitarian parole for one year with no background check, which will change starting Monday.
Sapochnick says with “Uniting for Ukraine,” situations like Ivan’s will hopefully be avoided.