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Ukrainian families detail attempts to claim asylum

Posted at 7:12 AM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-12 10:47:13-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The Ukrainian mother of a six-month-old baby separated at the border by CPB is now out of their custody and in the United States. But another family is still waiting to be reunited.

Lena Kara was separated from her six-month-old baby Katie and her husband Kirill when they arrived at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The family attorney says they were separated over a week ago when they presented themselves at the border after fleeing Ukraine a day after Russia invaded.

The family left Ukraine, traveling through several countries, before finally arriving in Tijuana, hoping to seek asylum. Kirill is a U.S. citizen, but his wife and baby are not.

Their attorney Jacob Sapochnick says he still doesn't have a reason from CBP about why she was detained for so long, despite her having a nursing child.

Sapochnick is also representing a Ukrainian man named, Klementi, he has a green card, but his wife does not. They too were separated after trying to seek asylum at the port, and it's been nine days since he's heard from her.

The two men coincidentally met at a hotel near the border as they waited to hear from their wives.

The women also met by chance in detention, and when Lena was released, the attorney says, Kelemnti found out how his wife was doing. Sapochnick says the woman has the stomach flu, vomiting and a fever.

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, Sapochnick says the Biden administration needs to do something to allow these refugees, and thousands of others waiting to seek asylum, as is required by international law.

ABC 10News has reached out to CBP at the local and federal level multiple times in the last three days about this case and so far has not heard back.