San Diego County votes to support emergency migrant shelters

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – County leaders have decided to take proactive steps to help the non-profit groups that are sheltering migrant families.

These are families that have been cleared to stay in the United States legally, as they await a final decision on their application for asylum.

Typically, a family may be released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or by the Border Patrol into downtown San Diego without any food, shelter, or money for transportation. That’s where a network of non-profit and faith based groups has filled the gap, by offering temporary shelter, food and funds to help the family travel to a sponsor waiting in another part of the country.

The families stay about one to three days. Since early November, a coalition of humanitarian groups called the San Diego Rapid Response Network has operated a 97 bed shelters in the South Bay.

The SDRRN said 4,500 people have passed through the temporary shelter in the last nine weeks.

To address the needs of these families, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved several measures to support these emergency shelters. They include a recommendation to have the County’s Chief Adminstrative Officer consider armories or other State properties as temporary shelter sites.

The supervisors also asked the Chief Administrative Officer to identify County properties that might be used as shelter facilities. The current shelter which is operated by the SDRRN must close by February 7.

During discussions by the Board, Supervisor Dianne Jacob said the county has never had to deal with the circumstances it now faces due to the increase and backlog of people seeking asylum. “It’s a new issue because of the failure of the federal government and particularly the Trump Administration for not doing their job,” Jacob said.

The measures approved by the Board of Supervisors would not result in any additional public spending.

The supervisors also want the State and Federal governments to help cover the County’s current costs of providing health screenings for the migrant families.

At this time, the much greater cost of running the temporary emergency shelter, 24 hours a day and seven days a week has been borne by the non-profits, largely through private donations.

Categories: Local San Diego News