Ukrainian Refugees Fan Out Across U.S., Enroll Kids in Local Schools While Others Wait at Border

Jo Napolitano -

Just over the zigzag pathway of the Tijuana border crossing, a mile or so from the taco and churros stands that feed locals and tourists alike, past the indigenous women sitting on the sun-scorched sidewalk and begging for change with infants at their breasts, rests a pop-up encampment for Ukrainian and Russian refugees fleeing an invasion they could neither endure nor support.

From February until just this week, Mexico has been their second-to-last stop in a weeks-long journey; Tijuana a two or three-day respite on the way to something better, something safer, where their children can slowly work toward normalcy after their lives were upended by war. 

These displaced families — a flight away from Washington state or Illinois or South Carolina — are fanning out across the country, staying with friends and relatives, applying for food stamps and Social Security cards and enrolling their children in school. While they are far further in their relocation than the Mexican, Central American and Haitian asylum seekers waiting years for that same opportunity, these newcomers still face many hur