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San Diego County Board of Supervisors to consider additional $3M for migrant services

The county allocated a previous $3M to support nonprofits providing services last month
Posted at 9:48 AM, Dec 01, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More than 42,000 — that’s how many migrants have been released by Customs and Border Protection in San Diego County between September and November, according to county officials.

“And these are individuals who are coming to make an asylum claim,” said Pedro Rios, Director of American Friends Service Committee.

Rios has spent many days at the border helping those asylum seekers. As his work and that of others continues, two county leaders — Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Nora Vargas and Supervisor Joel Anderson — are reaching for other ways for the county to do more too.

Next Tuesday, the two supervisors are putting forth an item to reallocate another $3 million in American Rescue Plan Funding to support non-profits providing migrant services.

As ABC 10News previously reported, the initial $3 millionto support local non-profits providing these services was allocated on Oct. 10.

“We certainly could use more money. And, if there’s an exploration about what other immigrant rights organizations can use that money and have a proven record, I think that would be a better way of thinking for using funds that could benefit migrants that are in need,” Rios said.

Rios told ABC 10News he would like to see money going towards groups helping those migrants in between board walls or out in Jacumba.

“We know a lot of the funding has been used for transportation purposes. That transportation that’s basically doing the work that Border Patrol should be doing,” Rios said.

ABC 10News reached out Vargas for comment about the possible added funding.

She said in a statement, "San Diego County has stepped up to address the humanitarian crisis at our border. The $3 million allocation put forward by our Board of Supervisors ensured that over 40,000 asylum-seekers have been able to get through to their onward travels. As a county, the health and well-being of our community continues to be a top priority. I am disappointed that the majority in congress did not accept President Biden's Supplemental Budget Request of $14 billion for the country's immigration and border-related needs. As a result, Supervisor Anderson and I are asking our colleagues to fund additional support services as we continue to advocate at the state and federal levels for more long-term solutions."

But Supervisor Jim Desmond, who was opposed to the first round of funding, said this is a federal government issue that the county’s paying for.

“I think the more we do this, the more it’s just going to snowball on us. And the people do need help on where they are going. The federal government should take care of that,” Desmond said.

He added there are other things that $3 million could go towards in the County.

“Those are county, local dollars that we could be using on our own homeless issue, our mental health issues, or infrastructure,” Desmond said.

However, Rios feels everyone should be stepping up. “Local governments as well as state and federal governments must play a role in ensuring that people are welcomed, treated with dignity and are provided services so that they don’t fall through the cracks,” Rios said.