SAN DIEGO — The ongoing situation at the southern border has now been declared a humanitarian crisis by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
The board voted unanimously to declare the crisis during its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday. This vote was in response to the over 7,800 migrants who have been dropped off by Border Patrol at transit stations across San Diego County in the last two weeks.
According to county officials, the goal of the vote is to put the pressure on federal officials to help San Diego address the influx of migrants.
Supervisor Jim Desmond, who introduced the measure alongside Chair Nora Vargas, stressed San Diego County cannot continue down this path during Tuesday’s meeting, adding that the county needs the federal government to step in.
“This is not a Democrat issue, this is not a Republican issue, this is a federal responsibility,” Desmond added. “Our immigration system, I think, is broken.”
San Diego leaders and humanitarian groups said assisting the migrants has put a strain on local resources. According to the county, “the burden of caring for these asylum seekers has been unfairly shifted to local governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and community members.”
Now, the county is asking the federal government for more help. “We’ve got to break down barriers, we are doing our best to do that,” Vargas said. She added that the measure on today’s agenda is near and dear to her heart.
County leaders say there is no end date in sight for the street releases of asylum seekers following their processing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
With Board’s vote on Tuesday, the county officially declared the following:
- 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.