By Miriam Raftery
November 20, 2018 (San Diego) -- Every day since October 26, immigration authorities have released onto the streets of San Diego 20-30 migrant families (50-70 individuals) seeking asylum at the San Diego-Tijuana Border. Once processed and vetted for security risks, the Department of Homeland Security has quietly dropped these families – tagged with ankle bracelets and without any resources – at locations across San Diego. The situation has left hundreds of migrants homeless on San Diego’s streets, with nowhere to go and no way of getting to their final destinations.
The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN), a coalition of human rights and service organizations, has worked with partners to set up a migrant shelter and are responding to the needs of these vulnerable children and families by providing meals, medical care and legal services. Appealing to the San Diego community for help, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched by SDRRN to raise funds to maintain the shelter and provide necessities such as food, blankets and bedding, portable showers and toilets. The funding will also help SDRRN provide free legal representation for these families and fund bond fees. To donate, visit GoFundMe.com/MigrantReliefSD.
“These families are desperately fleeing violence, suffering and persecution in their home countries. They have braved the elements and dangerous hardships on their journey to the U.S. in search of a safer, better life,” a press release from the SDRRN states.
The families include an average of one to two young children, ranging in age from three months to 10 years old. Children are given age-appropriate resources, including bottles, formula, diapers and toys. Once their basic needs are met, families receive one-on-one support and case management from trained staff and volunteers to help them reunite with family members in their destination cities – often a multi-day bus trip across the country. Families also receive detailed information about their rights as asylum seekers and details on their responsibilities to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and court appearances in their destination cities.
Along with the SDRRN’s GoFundMe campaign, Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego has established a travel fund to support cross-country travel expenses for these migrant families. To donate, visit sharejourneysd.org/families.
Core partners for SDRRN include ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Employee Rights Center, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, SEIU Local 221 and San Diego Organizing Project.
A 24-hour hotline is available for individuals to call, should they or someone they know be experiencing an immigration emergency (raid, arrest, checkpoint and/or harassment): 619-536-0823.
The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) is a coalition of human rights and service organizations, attorneys, and community leaders dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region. Core partners for SDRRN include ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Employee Rights Center, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, SEIU Local 221 and San Diego Organizing Project.
San Diego is the largest land border crossing in the world and has been a highly active location for deportations and rights violations by Customs Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). SDRRN was activated to respond to increased immigration enforcement within San Diego County and humanitarian issues arising at the border, including widespread family separation and unjust deportation of asylum seekers arriving at the Port-of-Entry.
A 24-hour hotline is available for individuals to call, should they or someone they know be experiencing an immigration emergency (e.g. raid, arrest, checkpoint and/or harassment): 619-536-0823.
For non-emergency immigration legal assistance inquiries, local immigrants are encouraged to call SDRRN’s pro bono legal assistance line: 858-637-3365.