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With Shelters Full, U.S. Releases Migrants On Streets Of San Diego

Over five years, San Diego, the largest U.S. city on the Mexican border, developed a well-oiled system to shelter asylum-seekers. That system is being tested as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) releases migrants to the streets of California’s second-largest city because shelters are full. Since Sept. 13, 13,000 have been dropped at transit stations with notices to appear in immigration court at their final destinations in the U.S., with about 500 more arriving daily, the Associated Press reports. Migrant aid groups blame various circumstances for the shelter crunch: reduced federal funding; CBP’s sending migrants from Texas and Arizona to be processed in San Diego; and a surge in illegal crossings. Last week, the Biden administration advanced plans for a border wall in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and said it would resume deportation flights to Venezuela.


Before they are released in San Diego, some migrants being dropped off have been waiting between a double-layer border wall or camping under Border Patrol watch in remote mountains east of the city. CBP closed a major pedestrian border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, and assigned more officials to processing migrants. Illegal crossings topped a daily average of more than 8,000 last month after a lull after the start of new asylum restrictions in May had diminishing impact and people from dozens of countries, notably Venezuela, were drawn by prospects of jobs and safety. About 95% of migrants in San Diego quickly move to other parts of the country. The constant churn of exhausted, disoriented migrants from more than 100 countries has created strains that the San Diego County government calls “an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.”

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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