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ET TU, JARED POLIS? Buses are not the answer to emergency migrant services and immigration policy reforms.

January 13, 2023

It’s the mayors who have stepped up as the leading problem solvers struggling with a genuine conundrum: What should an effective response to migrant issues look like for the affected cities and towns? A national coordination plan that designates a federal agency or a federally designated nonprofit with strong communications lines into specific cities and towns to handle arrivals’ needs once they are discharged would alleviate some of the chaos. For solutions to short-term emergencies, immigration advocates point to one San Diego organization as a leader in adapting its frameworks to handle the shifting demands of asylum seekers. Naomi Steinberg, an immigration advocate, has called the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego as “the gold standard” and told The San Diego Union-Tribune, “They have really shown organizations around the country how it can be done and how it should be done.”

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

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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San Diego Rapid Response Network Statement Re: SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services Capacity Updated Dec. 27, 2022

December 27, 2022

Due to the extreme weather conditions impacting outbound travel, our resources and current infrastructure are stretched to capacity each night. At this time, we are currently welcoming up to 300 asylum seekers daily. When conditions prevent guests from departing, we have to limit arrivals only to the most vulnerable asylum seekers released by DHS.

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

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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San Diego Rapid Response Network Statement Re: SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services Capacity Update

December 23, 2022

Due to the extreme weather conditions impacting outbound travel, our resources and the current infrastructure have been stretched to capacity. At this time, we cannot respond to requests coming through the SDRRN emergency hotline to assist in sheltering additional asylum seekers.

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How will asylum work after Title 42 ends? No one knows yet

December 21, 2022

JFS’ Kate Clark, senior director for immigration services, was interviewed about current uncertainties surrounding Title 42, and how looming legal changes will affect asylum seekers in the near future. Lack of information has led to rumors, confusion, and doubts about the government’s readiness to respond.

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

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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Senator Padilla says he’s frustrated with lack of progress during San Diego border visit

September 1, 2022

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla visited the San Diego border region Wednesday to learn how the federal government can support the humanitarian efforts of local advocates. During a meeting with members of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, advocates asked Padilla to help them restore the asylum system, stop the militarization of the border, expand access to Friendship Park and adopt a more welcoming approach to new migrants. “The border is much more than a headline, it’s people’s lives that are impacted every single day on both sides of the border,” said Kate Clark, director of immigrant services at Jewish Family Service.

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Advocates Concerned About Dangerous Residual Consequences of Remain In Mexico Policy

August 31, 2022

Immigrant rights advocates met with Democratic Senator Alex Padilla at the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego on Wednesday to give him a sense of what's happening on the ground at the U.S.-Mexico border. They're applauding the end of the so-called Remain in Mexico policy, but say migrants are still in danger because they're not being processed fast enough.

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Senator Padilla Tours San Diego Border Region, Meets with Local NGOs and Advocacy Groups

August 31, 2022

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, visited the San Diego border region, and joined local NGOs and advocacy organizations to discuss their critical work to protect and welcome asylum seekers and how the federal government can support their efforts. Padilla also highlighted his commitment to protecting the right to asylum and his advocacy to create more legal pathways for migrants to safely arrive and be welcomed into the United States. As part of his visit he toured the San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

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CAWTF Holds Press Conference Calling For End to Title 42

May 27, 2022

The California Welcoming Task Force held a press conference on Monday, May 23, 2022, to call for an end to Title 42, Restoration of Humane Process for People Seeking Asylum.

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“This Is Not Our First Rodeo”: Key Border Cities Say They’re Ready for the End of Title 42

May 12, 2022

Their preparations are moving forward even as a federal judge is expected to rule—perhaps as soon as the end of the week—on whether Title 42 will actually end as scheduled. If the judge doesn’t intervene and the policy is lifted as planned on May 23, it would not constitute a new asylum policy; rather the shift would bring things back to pre-pandemic operations for asylum seekers at the border. “We anxiously await and are eagerly preparing for the full termination of Title 42,” says Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, a group that has been instrumental in assisting asylum seekers for years. Kate Clark’s interview continues and there are additional statements by members of the California Welcoming Task Force.

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‘I Will Help You’: San Diegan Steps Up to Help Ukrainians at US-Mexico Border

March 29, 2022

Since the war started, Moores has helped 12 families get out of Ukraine and into the U.S. She has been teaming up with Jewish Family Service to help families receive critical services and respite shelter through the SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services, which is operated by Jewish Family Service.

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Number of Ukrainian Refugees Increasing at Tijuana Border

March 18, 2022

Advocates say asylum claims & exemptions are not uniformly enforced at border crossings. So far this year, the San Diego Rapid Response Network has assisted 453 Ukrainians at the border. That compares to 878 Ukrainians assisted during all of 2021, according to Kate Clark, the group’s Director of Immigration Services. Advocates are calling for the immediate repeal of policies that have allowed migrants to be turned away from the border before seeking asylum.

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End to Trump-Era Asylum Rules Sought As Refugees from Ukraine and Russia Arrive in Tijuana

March 18, 2022

San Diego immigration experts called Friday for an end to Trump-era immigration restrictions as potentially thousands of desperate migrants from Ukraine and Russia begin to arrive in Tijuana.
Kate Clark, senior director of immigration services at Jewish Family Service, said that “Our recently arrived guests from Ukraine tend to be female heads of households with their children. Their spouses have stayed behind to fight for Ukraine’s continued independence.”

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Ukrainians are seeking asylum in the U.S. but pandemic limits are in the way

March 12, 2022

People fleeing the war in Ukraine are arriving at the southern U.S. border and asking for asylum – but those efforts are being complicated by pandemic-era rules limiting entry into the country. Maryna and her 10- and 8- year-old daughters are among those who have actually made it into the country. They received assistance at the SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services operated by Jewish Family Service. It is time that Title 42 be lifted so that asylum seekers from around the world can seek safety and security.

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Even Before War, Thousands Were Fleeing Russia for the U.S.

March 11, 2022

Between June and Feb. 21, with the exception of one week, Russians were among the top-three nationalities assisted by the San Diego Rapid Response Network, which offers food and lodging to migrants after their release from U.S. border custody. The network has also been receiving a small but growing number of Ukrainians, and the volume is expected to increase in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion, assuming access to Mexico remains relatively easy.

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In Tijuana, Desperate Asylum Seekers Prepare for the Return of ‘Remain in Mexico’

November 29, 2021

Waiting in Mexican border cities is not only dangerous, she says, but makes it almost impossible to find legal representation in the United States. Only 7% of MPP asylum seekers had a lawyer, contributing to less than 1% of migrants actually winning their asylum cases while enrolled in Remain in Mexico. By contrast, closer to a third of asylum seekers overall won their cases during the same period. Lawyers in San Diego say they’ve been told by federal officials that immigration judges have been designated and courtrooms have already been set aside.Kate Clark, the lead immigration attorney with Jewish Family Service of San Diego, says the resumption of a program they oppose leaves legal service providers in a difficult spot.

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Past Wins Help Attys Prep for Return of ‘Remain in Mexico’

September 3, 2021

Immigration attorneys whose practices shifted when President Joe Biden rescinded the "Remain in Mexico" program are experiencing whiplash after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to be reinstated. Kate Clark, the director of immigration services at the Jewish Family Service of San Diego, told Law360 that “reinstatement is certainly not something we ever thought was going to be within the realm of possibilities”. In the weeks since, Clark says her organization has redoubled its advocacy efforts, calling on congressional representatives and the White House to stand in opposition to the policy.

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Remain in Mexico is Back From the Dead

August 30, 2021

With the Supreme Court ruling requiring the Biden’s Administration to revive MPP, San Diego advocates are already concerned Remain in Mexico’s reinstatement will force more migrants into dangerous living conditions. Jewish Family Services described Remain in Mexico as a “cruel and inhumane program.” They further explained, “over the last two years, we have seen firsthand the mental and physical toll the policy places on those traumatized by the violence and persecution they have fled from in their home countries.”

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