SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is taking up a readiness plan to “ensure the safety and well-being of asylum seekers” as it expects “an anticipated substantial increase in the number” once Title 42 is lifted.

Part of the board’s resolution is a call for the federal government to provide more financial support and other resources to help migrants who will transit through San Diego bound for other parts of the country.

County of San Diego Chairwoman Nora Vargas speaks in support of a readiness plan for the county as more migrants are expected to transit through the region once Title 42 is lifted. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“Now, more than ever we should lead the way in building a just and humane immigration system that rises to meet the challenges of the current situation around the world,” said Chairwoman Nora Vargas. “This effort starts locally, and it will take a bipartisan approach to solve this humanitarian issue. While this happens, and with the safety of the asylum seekers in mind, we need to ensure that we are ready with the services and resources they need to receive them in the most humane way in their journey to their destination.”

The board’s goals:

  • Continue to work with regional organizations involved in resettlement and respite shelter activities by jointly advocating for federal funding and resources.
  • Assess the cost of sustaining capacity and continuity of operations, particularly regarding immediate sheltering, long-term physical space needs, and public health response efforts for migrants in our community.
  • Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to send a letter to San Diego County’s Congressional delegation urging them to prioritize comprehensive immigration reform during the current legislative session.
  • Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to report back to the Board in 30 days, identifying both short-term and long-term actions that can be taken to ensure current asylum seekers and those entering the U.S. following the termination of Title 42 do not exacerbate the current homeless population in our region.

“For us, it’s really important that we know there will be a larger influx of migrants, we must meet the humanitarian need and we want to make sure there’s space for folks,” said Vargas.

The County of San Diego and members of what’s called the Rapid Response Network, which has been providing housing, meals and transportation for migrants for several years, say they have already helped 125,000 asylum-seekers who came through the region on their way to other destinations across the U.S.

“I believe it is in the best interest of all not only those who arrive but also those who are already here,” said Father Scott Santarosa, a member of RRN. “There needs to be a plan, which is structured and funded, so these aspiring Americans can be kept safe.”

In April 2022, the County of San Diego agreed to pay up to $5 million to provide lawyers and other legal services for migrants facing deportation.