From SDRRN Steering Committee: Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services, Jewish Family Service of San Diego; Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director, ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties; David Garcias, former president, Local 221 SEIU; and Alejandra Garcias, Dreamer Center project specialist, Southwestern College
Every day, San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) Migrant Shelter Services welcomes hundreds of asylum seekers released from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with a focus on those coming through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
When DHS leaves people escaping violence and persecution on the streets, people cannot be received with the safety, dignity and respect they deserve. SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services’ resources and infrastructure are currently stretched to capacity, and we cannot provide respite shelter and services to all the people seeking asylum that DHS is releasing. Other non-governmental (NGO) shelter capacity in the region has also decreased.
These issues persist and as of Sept. 13, the shelter can only receive up to 300 of the most vulnerable asylum seekers released by DHS, including those with medical conditions, families, pregnant people, LGBTQI, older adults, etc., as space allows. The population we are serving is moving to the most vulnerable, but we will still have the same capacity every night.
We are grateful to the local NGO partners who have stepped up to do the critical work of supporting people seeking asylum who have been left on the streets of San Diego. As our capacity allows, we’re providing support and coordination to those partners, in addition to welcoming at our shelter any vulnerable populations identified who have inadvertently been released to the streets by DHS.
Presently, we cannot respond to requests coming through the SDRRN emergency hotline* to assist in sheltering additional asylum seekers.
This situation is preventable. We call, once again, on all levels of government to work together and come alongside the NGOs engaged in providing support and to step up and work together to repair our broken immigration system and prioritize humanity.
We urge all levels of government to continue funding the critical resources needed to sustain operations and to welcome and assist all people seeking asylum arriving in the San Diego border region. And importantly, following the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors’ resolution passed on Sept. 26, we urge the County to take action and use its own funds and seek other funding sources to fulfill this urgent need. We are grateful to the State of California for its leadership and support of the migrant sheltering system.
SDRRN remains committed to welcoming asylum seekers into our country, with public health as our top priority. No one should stand alone in our community.
To support SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services, visit www.rapidresponsesd.org/donate. To support the various organizations that have stepped up to meet the urgent humanitarian need, visit www.rapidresponsesd.org/helpnow.
For more information about the current situation, media may contact the State of California’s public information officers – California Department of Social Services: Scott Murray, [email protected], or Jason Montiel, [email protected]; California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services: [email protected].
*The SDRRN emergency hotline was created to respond to ongoing immigration enforcement emergencies, such as checkpoints, raids, arrests and harassment. For more information, visit www.rapidresponsesd.org.