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In: The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego is a top spot for border crossings. How many people arrive only to become homeless?

The San Diego Union-Tribune

June 8, 2024

As San Diego remains the top spot for border crossings and struggles with limited shelter space for asylum seekers, many individuals find themselves on the streets, ultimately becoming part of the city's homeless system. "Providing respite shelter actually prevents individuals from being on the streets," said Kate Clark, Senior Director of Immigration Services at Jewish Family Service. "We are unfortunately caught between two broken systems: the immigration system and the homeless system."

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Migrant Services Group Calls on County for ‘Seat at the Table’ in Deciding How to Spend Federal Funds

The San Diego Union-Tribune

April 25, 2024

Local migrant services groups are urging San Diego County leaders to collaborate with those working directly with migrants on the ground before deciding how to spend its recent $19.6 millions allocation from the federal government. “It is our expectation that we’re able to think through a regional plan that hopefully gets to a place of avoiding street releases,” said Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services for Jewish Family Service of San Diego, “but in order to do that, the organizations that are closest to the work really need to inform the county how they can put forth a plan to the federal government to use these funds.”

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San Diego County Declares Humanitarian Crisis for Asylum Seekers at Border

asylum, asylum-seekers, migrant, The San Diego Union-Tribune

September 26, 2023

With growing numbers of migrants arriving in San Diego County in recent weeks, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to declare a humanitarian crisis for asylum seekers at the border and request more federal support. More than 8,100 migrants have been dropped off in the region in the last two weeks, according to the county — an influx county officials say shows no sign of slowing. The increase in the number of migrant arrivals in recent weeks is the first significant influx reported since new asylum restrictions were introduced in May when hundreds of migrants waited between the border walls for the end of a pandemic-era immigration policy that blocked asylum seekers and other migrants from entering the U.S. Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services at JFS, spoke to why we were at this moment at this time. View the page in the print edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Opinion: The End of Title 42 Should’ve Been a Celebratory Day, but It Was Far From That.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

May 24, 2023

“Our immigration system is broken,” says Kate Clark, JFS’s Senior Director of Immigration Services, as she calls on the public to hold elected officials accountable for rebuilding the immigration system. The Border Patrol recently created a horrific humanitarian situation, detaining hundreds of migrants between the border fences. San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) Migrant Shelter Services, which is operated by JFS, stands ready to continue to help asylum seekers, despite restrictive new border policies imposed by the Biden Administration after Title 42 was lifted on May 11.

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‘This Is Not the End’: Community Groups Continue to Aid Asylum Seekers at the Border

The San Diego Union-Tribune

May 15, 2023

The response from local community groups aiding migrants since the end of Title 42 is credited with helping the situation from becoming more dire. “We have seen – especially in our community – the ability for us to move forward together as a … community united in our values of welcoming the stranger,” said JFS’s Senior Director of Immigration Services Kate Clark. Customs and Border Protection has now processed the large groups of migrants the Border Patrol was keeping in open-air holding areas near the border walls.

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San Diego Community Converging to Assist Asylum Seekers at San Diego-Tijuana Border

The San Diego Union-Tribune

May 11, 2023

Community groups on both sides of the border — including the People’s Association of Justice Advocates, WorldBeat Cultural Center, Madres y Familias Deportas en Accion, the Black Contractors Association, Interfaith Community Services, and Friends of Friendship Park — have organized a network of resources to help thousands of asylum seekers hoping to apply for protection after the end of the Title 42 border policy. People who want to donate or volunteer are being referred to The San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter (SDRRN), which is operated by JFS.

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California Says It Can No Longer Afford Aid for COVID Testing, Vaccinations for Migrants

The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 20, 2023

The State of California will begin phasing out financial support for migrant medical screening centers including the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services, which is operated by Jewish Family Service. The shelters provide medical screenings, along with COVID testing and vaccinations for migrants seeking asylum. Governor Gavin Newsom says the state can no longer afford to contribute and that he is lobbying the Biden administration to increase aid. “We’re continuing our operations and again calling on all levels of government to make sure that there is an investment,” says Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services for Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
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Opinion: San Diego County Has Helped Refugees Pursue Asylum Cases. Here’s What More It Must Do.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 6, 2023

Two local leaders on the Steering Committee of the San Diego Rapid Response Network are urging the County Board of Supervisors to support a proposal to provide needed resources for asylum seekers and refugees. Norma Chávez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and David Garcias, the former president of SEIU Local 221, are urging the Board of Supervisors to support the bipartisan response plan – sponsored by Supervisors Nora Vargas (a Democrat) and Joel Anderson (a Republican) – at the meeting on Tuesday, February 7.

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Opinion: San Diego’s nonprofits have helped asylum seekers. Here’s what more the county must do.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 6, 2023

Two local leaders on the Steering Committee of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, are urging the County Board of Supervisors to support a proposal to provide needed resources for asylum seekers and refugees. Norma Chávez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and David Garcias, the former president of SEIU Local 221, are urging the Board of Supervisors to support the bipartisan response plan – sponsored by Supervisors Nora Vargas (a Democrat) and Joel Anderson (a Republican) — at the meeting on Tuesday, February 7.

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Opinion: Asylum seekers are lost when it comes to our immigration system. Here’s how Jewish Family Service helps.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 6, 2023

Jewish Family Service of San Diego directing attorney for immigrant legal defense and cross-border projects Luis Gonzales provides pro-bono legal representation for asylum-seekers, many of whom have stories he calls heartbreaking and horrifying. He criticizes the politicization of immigration courts, saying “It is a shameful time for a country that’s entire foundation is rooted in immigration, welcoming and diversity.”

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Opinion: Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services has welcomed 120,000 guests since 2018

The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 6, 2023

Ashley Frez-Clark, director of San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service, says government officials need to create solutions to support asylum seekers in the US. “The immigration system and its policies for seeking asylum continue to change,” she says, “without consideration of the impact on those needing asylum and the legal and humanitarian organizations supporting them.”

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Opinion: My children’s father threatened to kill us, so we fled. Seeking asylum is our only hope.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 3, 2023

Monica Garcia describes her ordeal fleeing her hometown of Colima, Mexico to escape her gun-obsessed husband’s violent attacks and death threats. Monica and her four children are being represented by Luis Gonzales, Jewish Family Service of San Diego directing attorney for immigrant legal defense and cross-border projects, and are living in temporary housing in San Diego.

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Border Patrol has continued to leave migrants at bus stations amid ongoing flight cancellations

The San Diego Union-Tribune

December 28, 2022

“At this moment we are grateful to have regained some capacity,” said Kate Clark, JFS’ Senior Director for Immigration Services. “We know the ongoing national travel challenges persist and will be continually assessing capacity to welcome guests into our care post-release from the Department of Homeland Security.”

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Federal Officials Leave Dozens of Migrants at Bus Stations Across San Diego County

The San Diego Union-Tribune

December 25, 2022

Due to flight delays from winter storms, migrant shelters haven’t been able to move guests through as quickly as normal and are now at capacity, meaning many new arrivals have been left on the streets. Normally, after crossing the border, migrants who are released in the San Diego area go to one of two shelters, one run by the San Diego Rapid Response Network and the other by Catholic Charities. Both shelters provide hotel rooms for migrants to stay in due to pandemic precautions. “These types of events are an important reminder that additional federal resources and meaningful reform are needed to support appropriate border infrastructure that reflects current needs,” Brian Ferguson of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said.

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This San Diego migrant shelter has become an integral part of the border. Other cities are taking notice.

The San Diego Union-Tribune

December 18, 2022

The San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego recently welcomed its 100,000th guest since it opened four years ago to help asylum seekers. “It was a happiness to be here,” said 31-year-old Yolanda, who is fleeing cartel violence. “I feel safe.” The article illustrates our emphasis on welcoming and providing care for the most vulnerable of asylum seekers with public health as our top priority. “They are the gold standard,” said Naomi Steinberg of HIAS. “They have really shown organizations around the country about how it can be done and how it should be done.”

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Court Ordered Return of Remain in Mexico Worsens Nightmare for Asylum Advocates

The San Diego Union-Tribune

August 28, 2021

The Supreme Court ordered the Biden administration to follow a Texas judge’s ruling to restart Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols. Many migrants are already being returned to Mexico under Title 42. Luis Gonzalez, Immigration Attorney of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, called the ruling “bittersweet” because he knew Jewish Family Service had managed to help 37 more asylum seekers get processed into the United States before the Supreme Court order was announced. However, he knew there were thousands more still stuck outside the United States — including some of his clients — who now might have to wait much longer in dangerous conditions.

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Forced Splitting of Protection-Seeking Families at the Southern Border

The San Diego Union-Tribune

July 13, 2021

Jewish Family Service and American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties (ACLU) sent a letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, outlining the ways that migrant families are still being split apart, the harm that separation causes, and suggested immediate policy changes.

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At San Diego migrant shelter, support for arriving asylum seekers is around-the-clock effort

The San Diego Union-Tribune

March 26, 2021

Jewish Family Service receives families and adults who are coming into the United States from the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program as well as asylum seekers released by Border Patrol into San Diego.

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Asylum Seekers at San Diego Border Ask Biden for Answers Amid Inconsistent Policies

The San Diego Union-Tribune

March 21, 2021

As the Biden administration urges people not to migrate north to the U.S. border, the situation for asylum seekers who have been waiting at the border is a situation of growing confusion. Kate Morrissey of The San Diego Union Tribune reports the situation and details the increased arrival numbers we are experiencing in this Sunday frontpage article. Morrissey writes, “Many of these migrants, particularly Cubans, have been released to the Jewish Family Service shelter (services), amplifying a need for more volunteers and more staff to safely manage the new arrivals.”

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First ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum seekers enter U.S. at San Ysidro

The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 19, 2021

Two years and 21 days after the first asylum seeker was walked back from San Diego to Tijuana under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program, a small group of asylum seekers was escorted in the other direction to wait out immigration court cases in the United States. CEO Michael Hopkins said, “This is a really different experience than 2½ years ago, when we got the call on our hotline that moms and kids were on the streets of San Diego.”

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