Thousands of migrants from the southern border are packed into buses headed to numerous transit centers throughout San Diego County. When they step off the bus, they are taking their first step into an unknown world, armed with only a manilla folder of their destination in a language many can not read. Without being given a choice, these individuals were placed on a bus to an unknown destination with no information, belongings, or aid. This is an ongoing crisis in San Diego, where thousands seeking asylum have been assigned random sponsor families – some in different states – that they must find a way to reach.
According to a Customs and Border Protections statement, they have been dropping off these migrants in order to create more space between two U.S.-Mexico border fences where the migrants had been staying. They claim to be sending the asylum-seekers to transit stations to give them access to transportation to their final destinations. CBP also states that the release of these migrants is standard procedure.
However, these people come from all over the world – some even hailing from other continents, such as Africa, South America, and more. Many cannot read or speak English, do not know where their sponsor families are, and do not understand the U.S. transit system. They come with few belongings and without funds to travel to their destination. Some sponsor families book flights for their sponsored person, but some families lack the funds to do so and attempt to get aid from organizations.
With the nonstop influx of migrants, aid organizations’ funding has run thin. The only aid that has been offered to these individuals has been from volunteer groups and nonprofits that have been working around the clock. These groups are suffering from a lack of information, as they are unsure of when the next group of migrants will appear. Volunteer groups such as Interfaith Community Services, Catholic Charities, the International Rescue Committee, and Jewish Family Service (which runs the San Diego Rapid Response System that supports asylum-seekers) have set up tents and tables at the transit centers, providing a variety of services ranging from things as simple as food or clothing to even purchasing plane tickets so migrants can find their sponsor families. But with no support from the government, these organizations find themselves in a tough spot. Their resources are running out and they require more manpower, information, funding, and aid.
These non-governmental organizations need help, which the local San Diego government has noticed. On September 26, 2023, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared the border situation a humanitarian crisis. Over 7,800 migrants had been dropped off in the previous two weeks. The county stated that “the burden of caring for these asylum seekers has been unfairly shifted to local governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and community members.” Local government officials are also calling on the federal government for help. San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond wrote on September 14, 2023, “This isn’t humane. This isn’t compassionate. The Federal Government is failing in its obligation to protect the people of San Diego County. This system is broken and puts our region at risk. If the Federal Government wants to process asylum seekers, it must provide adequate resources to manage people entering our area.” Yet, chances of receiving aid from the federal government seem slim with the potential government shutdown approaching.
Simply put, these migrants need our assistance. These people came to America searching for safety. Instead, they have been transported to an unspecified location without being told anything and were handed a folder with names of people they do not know that they are supposed to find – even if these unidentified people reside across the country. The volunteer groups and nonprofits providing aid have been tirelessly working for over the past two weeks to help the thousands of arrivals, but they need our help to continue providing their services.
To support the organizations providing aid to these migrants, please consider donating or volunteering through the links below. These organizations rely on community aid to supply the asylum-seekers with food, water, clothing, shelter, transportation, and a way back to normal life.
Donate to: Interfaith Services
Donate to: Jewish Family Services
Donate to: Catholic Charities
Donate to: International Rescue Committee
Donate to: San Diego Rapid Response Network
Donate to: Feeding San Diego
Donate to: Second Families
Donate to: Immigrant Defenders
Volunteer with: San Diego Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster