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Carlsbad woman waits to be reunited with family fleeing Ukraine and war

Julia Cherepova says it's the first time her family has traveled to U.S.
Posted at 6:53 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 09:53:30-04

OTAY MESA, Calif. (KGTV) – Tuesday evening was a special reunion for Carlsbad resident Julia Cherepova.

"I just want to hug them. I'm already almost like crying. But I'm just going to cry. I don't know,” Cherepova said.

Cherepova’s family has been on quite the journey. After fleeing Ukraine amid the war and traveling from country to country, they finally arrived in Tijuana on Tuesday evening.

Since February 23rd, she said it’s been a worrisome time for her, her friends and family are still in the country.

"I'll never forget how my mom... she called me on February 23rd and she said, ‘Julia, the building just was shaking from a bomb explosion next to my building. The war has begun,’” Cherepova said.

Cherepova, who has been living in the U.S. for the last 11 years, says her parents, brother and his family traveled for days before arriving in Tijuana late Tuesday afternoon. They proceeded to the San Ysidro Port of Entry to cross into the United States, but it didn’t quite happen like that.

Cherepova’s family called her as she was waiting at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to tell her that there were 350 people in line ahead of them and they may not be able to cross on Tuesday.

But, her love and determination to get her family into the U.S. drove her into Tijuana to help them. She left her car at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, walked across into Mexico, picked them up in a cab and drove to a different port of entry. All in the hopes that the line would be shorter and they could somehow get across the same day they flew into Tijuana.

As they wait until they are processed and given permission to enter the U.S., Cherepova is just glad that her family is back together and away from the war.

They still have work to do to get her relatives settled into the U.S. but they’re already planning their first outing.

"I know we'll be able to cross all of the problems and solve them. And I'm so happy to be able to take them to Disneyland. They've been dreaming about this. It's beautiful, you know,” Cherepova said.