The new governor of California, Gavin Newsom, reiterated today in San Diego his proposal to allocate a fund of 25 million dollars to civil organizations that support migrant families, which require shelter once they arrive at the border in search of asylum.
Newsom met with leaders of the Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) coalition, to discuss the use of such support, and insisted that work must be continued towards a permanent solution to serve families seeking refuge.
The first fund of $ 5 million would be put to the vote in the state Assembly next Monday, while the remaining amount would be available within the budget for the next three years.
The announcement comes after the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved, with bipartisan support, the use of an abandoned building to be used as a temporary shelter for migrant families.
If the initial budget is approved, it would be used to support the remodeling works and expand the current services, explained Newsom, who had the opportunity today to know what the new facilities will be.
Since last October, activists have been reporting that officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) leave asylum seekers in bus stations and other public spaces to their fate, once they are processed.
While migrants – many, Central Americans – are released with a notice to appear in court and with a monitoring bracelet, they are not given assistance so that they can reach their destination.
Therefore, volunteers from the SDRRN opened five times a space to meet newly released custodial immigrants who require food and a roof to spend the night, before planning their trip to the city, where family members are waiting for them.
In the last four months, the volunteers received about 5,500 people, including mothers with young children, according to the coalition.
The high demand for a roof, together with the possibility that other caravans could reach the border, intensified the search for another space with capacity to receive more people.
On the rhetoric that is handled in the White House, which has called the caravans “a threat”, the governor of California recalled that immigrants served by these groups came to the country legally, to appear at the ports of entry.
“This should be celebrated, they (immigrants) arrived in an orderly manner, they were processed as they should be,” Newsom said at a press conference.
“It is an example, a repudiation against that assertion that these caravans are coming to create chaos and do things that some would suggest are not aligned with our values, when the opposite is true,” said the governor.
Nathan Fletcher, one of the supervisors who presented the shelter proposal, said the county was forced to act in an emergency that it considers was intensified by the federal government.
“We have an obligation, given the failure of the Administration of (Donald) Trump, to ensure that there is humane treatment (to immigrants),” the activist said.
The concern of authorities in San Diego is that migrant families without a place to stay are exposed to criminal groups, including those engaged in human trafficking. Also, it could unleash another problem in the already overcrowded shelters for homeless people, they agreed.
Senator Toni Atkins described the situation as “a legitimate humanitarian emergency” that requires the joint work of elected officials and civil organizations.
“(These immigrants) are making the same desperate and hopeful journey that other generations of Americans did before them, that’s how our country was built, by immigrants who defied the odds.”
In San Diego is the Port of San Ysidro, the main gateway to California from Mexico and one of the busiest borders in the world. (EFEUSA) .-