May 20, 2024

Funding secured for migrant welcome centers

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — After months of anticipation, funds allocated for handling the influx of migrants seeking asylum in the United States have finally arrived in San Diego County, totaling $19.6 million. These funds are earmarked for reopening the immigrant welcome centers that were shuttered in February due to a lack of funding.

Previously, without logistical organization, asylum seekers were simply being dropped off at bus stations or the airport. Those migrants who had secured a court date to plead their asylum case were often released into San Diego without the necessary language skills or means to organize their travel to their destination. At the border Friday, more migrants were being picked up by border agents.

“Just passed and it looks like they are about to pick up a group of maybe about 25 migrants including about a half a dozen children who have been waiting here for approximately six hours,” said Pedro Rios, the director of the American Friends Services Committee.

Rios was one of the leaders assisting migrants at the welcome centers and is relieved that funding is now in place to organize the migrant asylum seekers. Rios emphasizes that language, legal, medical, temporary shelter and transportation services are all necessary to calm the chaotic process. Along with financial support, Rios notes that, at least for now, the immigration pressure has somewhat eased.

“The numbers have dropped somewhat, and so we are seeing fewer migrants crossing through San Diego which is good. However, I would like to see that the federal government recommit to respecting the asylum processes so that people don’t have to cross over the border wall or in the mounds and they are able to safely present themselves at a port of entry,” Rios said.

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