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A wave of Ukrainian refugees at the southern California border


A new chapter in the Ukrainian refugee crisis is unfolding along the southern California border.

As Russia continues its brutal invasion of Ukraine, more than 2,000 Ukrainians have traveled to the Mexican side of the border in the past 10 days hoping to enter the United States, my colleague Miriam reports. Jordan in today’s paper, and many of them invaded Tijuana.

Immigrants sometimes wait days before being allowed to enter California. The influx has created confusion and a backlog, and has drawn volunteers from across the state trying to provide shelter, food and other assistance.

“The system at the border is incredibly inefficient,” Miriam Olya Krasnykh, who took time off from her real estate development job in San Mateo to help, told Miriam. “I don’t know how long we can sustain the volunteer-run effort.”

The war in Ukraine, which is entering its seventh week, continues its murderous course. Russia is scrambling for more troops after facing logistical problems and devastating casualties, as a litany of horrors continues to unfold across Ukraine.

Since the start of the invasion, around 4.3 million Ukrainians have fled their country, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Many fled to Poland, Romania or other neighboring European countries.

President Biden announced last month that the United States would accept 100,000 refugees from Ukraine, but program details have not been released, prompting some refugees to apply for entry more quickly. As Miriam wrote, Ukrainians who can afford the trip travel to Mexico, a country they can enter visa-free, to try to seek asylum in the United States, a country they cannot.

This has led to a stream of Ukrainians entering California in recent days. A church in the San Diego area has been turned into a sleeping place for newcomers who have nowhere to go.

It’s likely that many of the newcomers will eventually join relatives in the New York area, which is home to more Ukrainian immigrants than anywhere else in the country. Some, however, may stay in California.

Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are also among the largest Ukrainian population centers in the country, according to the Migration Policy Institute. And the Sacramento area has the highest concentration relative to its size: one in 125 residents is of Ukrainian descent.

A Ukrainian refugee who is currently staying in San Diego told KQED about her journey to the United States: She flew to Germany with her two young daughters, then to Mexico City, then to Tijuana. A family friend came from San Diego to pick them up and bring them back to California.

Once at the passport checkpoint on US soil, the woman, whom KQED identified only as Maryna, told Customs and Border Protection officials that her family was seeking asylum. Although she was relieved to have arrived in the country, she still thought about what she had left behind.

“At night I couldn’t sleep because of the emotions” because her family was away, she told the outlet. “Yes, everything is pretty, everything is great here, but I can’t enjoy it or relax.”

For more:


Roasted cabbage wedges stuffed with anchovies, walnuts and parmesan.


Tip of the day comes from Carol Stanley:

“To me, there is no more magical place in California than Big Sur where the Santa Lucia Mountains meet the Pacific. I find the beauty so extraordinary it presses my heart until I can barely breathe.” He casts a spell and my voice becomes a whisper, like I’m in a library because I don’t want to do anything to disrupt the magic.

Whether you camp or stay at the Post Ranch or Ventana, Big Sur captures you in its great wild arms. Then there is Nepenthe, a wonderful place to eat and enjoy spectacular views, or Esalen to learn and grow. Carmel is close, as is San Simeon. But there are no resorts in Big Sur, no golf courses or tennis courts – this is where you learn the most valuable lesson of doing nothing.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


What’s the best part of spring in California? Email us at CAToday@nytimes.com and your submission may be included in a future newsletter.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, entire industries were decimated overnight, leaving workers to survive on unemployment benefits.

But for some, the Covid-19 crisis has been an opportunity to change course and rethink their trajectory. The New York Times wrote about six people who transformed their careers in the past two years.

One of them, Liz Martinez, began training as a dental assistant last year after the Sephora where she worked in San Francisco closed.

Martinez had assumed that working in a dentist’s office would be drastically different from her job as a beauty consultant. But she found some surprising commonalities: She practices technical skills until they feel seamless, and she connects with customers and tries to make their day easier.

As a dental assistant, “you have no choice but to be really good at it,” she said. “It’s good not to be nervous.”

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