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County to sue Trump administration over asylum policy

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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to sue the Trump administration over its handling of asylum-seeking families.

The decision was reached in a closed-door session. Supervisor Kristin Gaspar was the lone vote against filing a lawsuit.

A Department of Homeland Security representative did not reply to a request for comment on the board's decision, which comes after a recent vote to open a shelter to temporarily house migrants going through the asylum process.

In a statement, board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said the Trump administration "created this crisis by releasing asylum-seeking families into our community without providing critical resources or even places to shelter."

Jacob said the lawsuit is an effort to hold the federal government accountable for failing to "consider the impact of its own actions on public health and safety," which has included separating migrant children from their parents.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher released a statement supporting the decision to sue.

"While we want the courts to weigh in, San Diego County will not abandon asylum seekers," Fletcher said. "We are committed to continuing our work with San Diego Rapid Response Network and the state of California to ensure humane and compassionate treatment for all."

Gaspar Tuesday evening released a statement criticizing the board's decision.

"In an unprecedented maneuver today, my colleagues voted to hastily sue the federal government,"  Gaspar said. ``This was done without any input from county staff, who was not given the direction or time to do any meaningful research or outreach to the agencies involved.

``The gains we have made with regard to assisting our asylum-seeking families are now mired in a clumsy lawsuit that we have no chance of winning. I believe our federal immigration system needs major reforms, but I simply cannot put taxpayer dollars at risk for political posturing.  I prefer to focus our time and efforts on real fixes rather than legal grandstanding."

Supervisors Greg Cox and Jim Desmond declined to comment on the board's decision.

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