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Local lawyer heads to U.S. southern border to aid Ukrainian refugees

<strong>March 6:</strong> Maksym Levus, age 3, perches above a crowd of Ukrainian Americans at a rally in support of Ukraine in New Haven, Connecticut.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
Maksym Levus, age 3, perches above a crowd of Ukrainian Americans at a rally in support of Ukraine in New Haven, Connecticut, on March 6.

Connecticut-based attorney Dana Bucin is traveling to the U.S. border checkpoint at Tijuana–San Diego as thousands of Ukrainian Refugees wait to enter the United States.

Bucin, who is Romanian, said she was inspired by her compatriots who took in Ukrainian refugees at the border with Romania as Russia invaded Ukraine.

“When I saw reports of what’s going on at the U.S.-Mexico border, and all these Ukrainian nationals, camping out there waiting to be admitted into the United States, I said, ‘That's it, I’m gonna go,’” Bucin said. “The same way that the Romanian nationals went to the Ukrainian Romanian border.”

Bucin, an attorney at Murtha Cullina in Hartford, said she personally knows some Ukrainian nationals currently at the southern border.

Once there, Bucin will provide legal assistance to Ukrainian nationals seeking humanitarian parole, a very limited form of temporary immigration status that allows lawful presence in the U.S. She said refugees with U.S.-based sponsors are eligible.

The Biden administration said last month it would admit up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, but Bucin notes there is no plan in place for its implementation. At the same time, an ongoing border crisis has left many other migrants without a chance to seek entry into the United States.

“This is a very good example of why we need to support immigration reform in general — these Ukrainian nationals are crashing at the U.S.-Mexico border because there are no better visa alternatives right now for them,” she said.

Bucin said that some Ukrainian nationals displaced by the war will be making their way to Connecticut.

Brenda León is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Brenda covers the Latino/a, Latinx community with an emphasis on wealth-based disparities in health, education and criminal justice.

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