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In photos: Ukrainian refugees at the San Diego-Tijuana border

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Matthew Bowler
Hundreds of Ukrainian war refugees camp out at this Tijuana bus stop near the San Ysidro Port of Entry while they wait in line for the chance to claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

Photos taken April 1 and April 4, 2022

More than 4.1 million refugees have fled the war zone since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Many came to Tijuana hoping to get asylum in the United States. So far, more than 3,000 Ukrainians have crossed through the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry.

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Matthew Bowler
Ukrainian war refugees camp out in a Tijuana bus stop while they wait their turn to claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

Some camp at a Tijuana bus station to wait for their turn to claim asylum.

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Matthew Bowler
A Ukrainian war refugee woman holds her head, she is tired from the many thousands of miles she's traveled to wait in line at a Tijuana bus stop near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, for her turn to claim alyssum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

Many are tired from their long trip. This woman rests her head while she waits in line at a bus station near the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry.

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Matthew Bowler
A young girl plays with her father by blowing bubbles, while she and her family wait in Tijuana for their chance to claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

Parents try their best to calm and entertain their children. This young girl is playing with her father by blowing bubbles, while she and her family wait in Tijuana for their chance to claim asylum.

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Matthew Bowler
The long journey is almost done. These Ukrainian war refugees are next in line at the entrance to the San Ysidro Port of Entry for their chance to claim asylum in the United States, Tijuana, April 4,m 2022.

For one family, their long journey is almost done. They are next in line at the San Ysidro PedEast entrance.

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Matthew Bowler
In the foreground a new chain link fence near the Tijuana side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, behind that regular border crossers, and in the background are Ukrainian war refugees waiting for their chance to claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

In the foreground is a new chain-link fence near the Tijuana side of the port of entry in PedEast. Behind the fence are regular border crossers. And in the background, are Ukrainian war refugees waiting to be called on by Customs and Border Protection officers.

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Matthew Bowler
Hundreds of Ukrainian war refugees have set up a make-shift camp in Tijuana while they wait in line for up to three-days to claim asylum in the United States, April 1, 2022.

Hundreds of refugees have set up a makeshift camp in Tijuana while they wait in line for multiple days to claim asylum in the United States.

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Matthew Bowler
Hundreds of Ukrainian war refugees are living in the Tijuana's Recreation Center called the "Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez", sleeping mats have be place on the basket ball court, one next to the other, making beds for up to 600 Ukrainians fleeing the war, Tijuana, April 4, 2022.

Others are living in this Tijuana recreation center called the "Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez." Sleeping mats have been placed on the basketball court, one next to the other, making beds for up to 600 Ukrainians fleeing the war.

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Matthew Bowler
This mother and her young daughter are just two of more than 600 Ukrainian war refugees waiting at the Tijuana's recreation center "Deportiva Benito Juárez", for their chance to cross the border and claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

This mother and her young daughter are just two of more than 600 Ukrainian war refugees waiting at "Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez."

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Matthew Bowler
Women who have traveled with small children make up many of the more that 600 Ukrainian war refugees now calling the Tijuana's recreation center "Deportiva Benito Juárez" home and they wait for their chance to claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

Women who are traveling with small children make up many of the more than 600 refugees at the recreation center.

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Mathew Bowler
A young Ukrainian war refugee boy sits on his mat at Tijuana's "Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez" as he and his family wait for their turn to claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

A boy sits on a mat at Tijuana's "Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez."

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Matthew Bowler
Volunteers hand out blankets and clothes to Ukrainian war refugees at Tijuana's "Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez", where those fleeing the conflict wait for their chance to claim asylum in the United States, April 4, 2022.

Volunteers are handing out blankets and clothes to refugees.

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Matthew Bowler
Ukrainian war refugees eagerly charge there cell phones at Tijuana's "Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez" looking for news from the war, April 4, 2022.

While there, refugees are able to charge their cell phones to contact family members and keep up with the news on the invasion.

Some are settling in San Diego but feel renewed fear for their loved ones, following reports of atrocities committed in Bucha.

Matthew Bowler is an award-winning journalist from San Diego. Bowler comes from a long line of San Diego journalists. Both his father and grandfather worked as journalists covering San Diego. He is also a third generation San Diego State University graduate, where he studied art with a specialty in painting and printmaking. Bowler moved to the South of France after graduating from SDSU. While there he participated in many art exhibitions. The newspaper “La Marseillaise” called his work “les oeuvres impossible” or “the impossible works.” After his year in Provence, Bowler returned to San Diego and began to work as a freelance photographer for newspapers and magazines. Some years later, he discovered his passion for reporting the news, for getting at the truth, for impacting lives. Bowler is privileged to have received many San Diego Press Club Awards along with two Emmy's.