Two temporary shelters for recently arrived migrants in San Diego County reached capacity last week, raising concerns that immigration authorities could begin processing and releasing migrants into the streets as happened in 2018.
Last Thursday, the California Department of Social Service confirmed that the shelters it manages across three counties near the U.S.-Mexico border, including two in San Diego, cannot accept more migrants “due to an increase in arrivals from federal processing from neighboring states, including Texas,” said Scott Murray, deputy director of public affairs and outreach programs for the agency.
“Hurricane Ian has also recently impacted the ability of some migrants to travel onward to family or friends and to pursue their immigration proceedings.”
Some migrants have been moved from the state migrant shelters to local homeless shelters amid capacity issues, putting more strain on efforts to provide resources to unhoused San Diegans.
Migrant arrivals at the southern border reached an all-time high last month, surpassing more than 2.1 million arrivals in the last 11 months, according to data from Customs and Border Protection, or CBP.
Arrivals in the San Diego Sector have been on the rise since 2020, but are low compared to historic highs in the 80s and 90s. However, federal immigration authorities are processing hundreds of migrants daily sent here from other parts of the border, including Arizona and Texas, to relieve pressure in those states.
“We are receiving four to seven buses a day, about 50 people per bus, from Yuma over here so that we can process them,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke told inewsource last month. “We’re also receiving a flight a day out of El Paso, Texas, because they are inundated as well.”
The San Diego-area shelters, which are operated by the nonprofits Jewish Family Service of San Diego and Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego, house migrants who have just been released from CBP custody.
Those migrants typically stay in the shelters for 72 hours before being reunited with their sponsors, usually a family member somewhere in the United States who has agreed to house the person while they await immigration proceedings.
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