Fearing Putin's anger, Russians swarm US-Mexico border to seek asylum

Russians now 'the number one nationality' are seeking help at refugee centers along the US-Mexico border, a new article reveals


                            Fearing Putin's anger, Russians swarm US-Mexico border to seek asylum
REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: Undocumented immigrants walk along the U.S.-Mexico border wall on March 17, 2021, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Getty Images)
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For years, Republicans have been complaining about "criminals" from Latin America seeking refuge in the US via the Mexico border, but it appears that in 2022, the story is quite different. Russians now reportedly make "the number one nationality" seeking help at the border, and attempting to cross the border illegally as millions flee the nation in fear. Fear of not only reprisals from Russian President Vladimir Putin but conscription into the army and the economic collapse of the country. 

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Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the war has seen over one million Ukrainian refugees enter into Europe via Poland, Hungary, and other border nations. Others, including members of the LGBTQ community, Indian and African students have faced challenges and even racial violence. However, it appears Russians find themselves in a terrible plight as well, especially since the war broke out. Thousands have been detained for protesting against the war, with the situation made worse by the collapsing economy. 

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Given that the west has moved to cut Russia off in several ways, ordinary Russians are now paying the price for Putin's invasion. Fearing that things could get a lot worse, it appears many have fled the nation since the start of the year, even before the war broke out. Perhaps ironically though, they've chosen to emigrate to the US. 

Asylum seekers stand under an outdoor U.S. Border Patrol processing center near the U.S.-Mexico Border on March 23, 2021, near Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

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Russians swarm to US-Mexico border

According to The Daily Mail, "Russians are now the number one nationality seeking help at refugee shelters" near the US-Mexico border. In January and February 2022, approximately  5,984 Russians sought asylum via the border, as compared to the 3,893 in the whole of 2021. There are several reasons for this, such as the fact that Russians are still an easy target for Putin in Europe, whereas it is harder to be poisoned or attacked in the US.

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Furthermore, Mexico remains one of the few countries where Russians can travel visa-free, enabling those seeking asylum to easily fly to the nation, before making the dangerous journey across and either requesting asylum or being arrested by border guards. Not only are thousands taking this route, but the more tech-savvy ones are even making video guides on how to do so and posting them on social media for others to find. 

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Yekaterina Mouratova, an immigration lawyer told The Moscow Times, "This is about the deteriorating political situation in many post-Soviet countries." Most fleeing are dissidents who have protested in the past against Putin or other authoritarian figures. Others flee to avoid religious persecution or conscription into the armed services. Another immigration lawyer, Ekaterina Mouratova said, "They're scared Russia is going to become the next Cuba."

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Ultimately though, most are fleeing out of fear for their lives. Dmitry Politov, a close supporter of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny told The Mail, "It became clear that staying in Russia is dangerous to life and freedom." He added, "Putin cannot tolerate free people... Putin is ready to take extreme measures so as not to lose. It is important for him to be a tough guy." 

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It's unclear how this surge will impact both Democrats' and Republicans' views of the border, especially with the 2022 midterms around the corner. That said, expect it to come up, especially if the war escalates forcing millions more out of their homes.