San Diego Overwhelmed by Surge of Asylum Seekers, City Struggles to Keep Up

San Diego Overwhelmed by Surge of Asylum Seekers, City Struggles to Keep Up

San Diego Overwhelmed by Surge of Asylum Seekers

Migrants Given Food, Water, and Help Booking Flights and Bus Tickets to Other US Communities

Up to 1,200 asylum seekers are arriving in San Diego every day, overwhelming the city’s shelters and resources.

The migrants are being given food, water, access to the internet, and help booking flights and bus tickets to other parts of the United States.

The Iris Ave Transit Center in Otay Mesa West is welcoming between 800 and 1,200 migrants a day.

The center provides arrivals with haircuts, washing facilities, and the opportunity to pick up fresh clothes and personal care items.

Asylum seekers have come from all over the world, including Sudan, Chad, Senegal, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central and South America, and the Middle East.

Once they arrive, they are greeted by various NGOs who dish out food and water, clothing, sanitary products, and information.

Arrivals are also given the opportunity to charge their phones, obtain SIM cards, and use the internet to contact family back home.

The cost of running the services has been put at around $1 million every month.

San Diego County supervisors recently agreed to a funding package to last for the next three months.

With asylum seekers from more than 100 countries pouring in, translator services are also offered.

Like 95 percent of all immigrants, those who arrive in San Diego do not plan to stay long-term.

At the Iris Ave transit center, a stall manned by South Bay Community Services offers the asylum seekers help booking flights.

Many desire onward travel to New York, Chicago, or Colorado and receive free flights or bus tickets paid for by the charities.

Shuttle buses are in operation every hour to take the migrants to San Diego Airport and Greyhound stations.

Usually, San Diego has capacity for around 950 recently arrived migrants who need a bed for a night or two.

County government officials have called the current situation “an unprecedented humanitarian crisis” as illegal crossings between Mexico and San Diego soared to their highest level for two decades between January and August this year.

Migrant aid groups have blamed the spike in illegal crossings for the huge numbers of people arriving in San Diego.

They also pointed to reduced government funding and the decision to send other migrants from Texas and Arizona to the Californian city for processing.

The releases come as several cities across the United States continue to grapple with their own migrant crises.

There have been similar migrant releases in Arizona where CBP agents have discovered up to 2,000 a day.

Democrat-led cities such as New York and Chicago have struggled particularly, with Texas governor Greg Abbott sending more than 50,000 migrants north in a bid to get liberal cities to play their part in the border crisis.

While in California, the Salvation Army has been using emergency government funding to pay for flights to New York and other destinations.

In August, New York City Mayor Eric Adams made a plea for more funding as he revealed the city had cared for more than 100,000 asylum seekers since last spring.

He said: “While our compassion is limitless, our resources are not,” and added: “We need our federal and state partners to ensure that their efforts match the magnitude of this moment.”

The Department of Homeland Security said last month that it has given $790 million for migrant shelters this year and asked Congress for an additional $600 million.

In an effort to alleviate some of the pressure, the Biden administration announced it would perform a U-turn on its immigration policy and resume deporting Venezuelans.

It comes after the president moved to restart construction on the controversial border wall.

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