San Diego County stands as a testament to the region’s cultural diversity and its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. However, a shadow has been cast over this vibrant region with the escalating border situation. Recognizing the gravity of the challenge, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has unanimously declared it a “Humanitarian Crisis.”
Since September 13, 2023, a staggering 7,800+ migrants, in search of asylum, found themselves at transit stations in San Diego County. With this influx and the Federal government’s apparent inability to manage it effectively, the local infrastructure and resources have been strained. This has resulted in communities, NGOs, and the general populace shouldering responsibilities that traditionally fall under federal jurisdiction.
Supervisor Jim Desmond, a prominent voice on the board, has articulated the sentiment of many, stating, “Our community is facing an unprecedented humanitarian challenge. The Federal Government’s failure to provide adequate resources has placed the burden squarely on our region. We cannot stand by as individuals are released into our communities without direction or the necessary resources.” Desmond’s call for the Federal delegation to either restrict the number of asylum seekers or provide adequate resources for their management is both a plea and a demand. He emphasizes that the day’s declaration is not just symbolic but a testament to the region’s call for proactive measures.
The board’s resolution touches upon several critical areas:
- Recognizing the severe deficit of federal resources for asylum seekers, labeling it a humanitarian crisis.
- Advocating for the Federal Government’s involvement in the proper management of asylum seekers, ensuring they are not left without direction or resources.
- Expressing opposition to the transfer of asylum seekers from other states and jurisdictions without adequate provisions.
- Instructing the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to transparently communicate the local NGOs’ needs and the affected communities to San Diego’s Federal representatives.
- Championing the allocation of federal funds for sustainable, long-term solutions in the region, including infrastructure and support mechanisms.
- Building upon the foundation laid out in the Board Action from February 7, 2023, promoting robust collaboration between localities, state and federal entities, and NGOs to forge a comprehensive strategy for the border community’s well-being.
With leaders like Supervisor Jim Desmond at the helm, there is a united front aiming to work with federal and non-governmental stakeholders to find solutions to this pressing humanitarian crisis. The message from San Diego County to the Federal Government is resonant: It’s time to act.
San Diego, CA – September 26, 2023 – In a unanimous decision today, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors officially declared the ongoing border situation a “Humanitarian Crisis.” This declaration comes in response to a mounting crisis that has seen over 7,800 migrants dropped at transit stations in San Diego County since September 13, 2023. The Federal government’s lack of sufficient resources to manage this influx of asylum-seeking migrants has resulted in a critical strain on local resources and created an urgent humanitarian challenge.
The situation has escalated rapidly as daily street releases continue, with no set end date in sight. These releases occur with little direction and minimal resources, leaving local communities grappling with an increasingly untenable situation. The burden of caring for these asylum seekers has been unfairly shifted to local governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and community members.
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond stated, “Our community is facing an unprecedented humanitarian challenge. The Federal Government’s failure to provide adequate resources has placed the burden squarely on our region. We cannot stand by as individuals are released into our communities without direction or the necessary resources. We call upon our Federal delegation to either limit the number of asylum seekers released into the region or provide the necessary resources for our Non-Governmental Partners to manage them adequately. Today’s declaration sends a strong message that we demand action.”
The board’s decision takes several key positions:
- Declares the lack of federal resources for asylum seekers a humanitarian crisis.
- Calls for the Federal Government to designate resources and personnel to manage asylum seekers and connect them to their sponsors and final destinations to prevent street releases.
- Opposes lateral transfers of asylum seekers from other states and jurisdictions.
- Directs the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to send a detailed letter outlining the specific needs of local non-governmental organizations and impacted communities to San Diego’s Federal delegation to request additional resources.
- Advocates for federal funding to develop a long-term solution for the region, including a permanent facility and operational support when federal agencies release asylum seekers in San Diego County.
- Per a previous Board Action on February 7, 2023, directs the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to continue convening with local cities, state and federal governments, and non-governmental organizations to collaborate and develop a comprehensive, innovative region-wide approach to address both short-term and long-term goals for the permanent border community.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors remains committed to working with federal and non-governmental stakeholders to effectively address this ongoing humanitarian crisis.