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Migrants appear confused, lost after being released onto San Diego streets

'Callous smuggling organizations' to blame: CBP
Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 21:17:18-04

OTAY MESA, Calif. (KGTV) — Hundreds of migrants continued to be dropped off at transit centers across San Diego County Friday.

The migrants are from around the world and have been released from immigration detention, where they’ve been processed and given court dates.

“They're actually in deportation proceedings. So, they have a notice to appear in court and for many of them, that notice to appear maybe in New York, or it might be in Massachusetts or Florida, all over the country,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, the executive Director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center.

Many migrants who were dropped off at the Iris Avenue Transit Center appeared lost and confused on Thursday and Friday.

RELATED: Tijuana official explains why hundreds of migrants are back at the border

Muscab Bashir asked ABC 10News reporter Austin Grabish for help Thursday evening getting a cellphone.

The asylum seeker is from Somalia and said he spent a week in detention after crossing illegally into the United States from Mexico.

He expressed gratitude for what he hopes will become his new home.

“I'm feeling safe. I'm feeling happy because I come to the land of opportunity where I can change my life,” Bashir said.

Other migrants, using a translation app, asked 10News if we could tell them where they were and call them a taxi.

Three men from Turkey were turned away from a nearby hotel after they didn't have enough cash to pay to stay.

Local migrant shelters are at capacity, which has triggered the street release of hundreds of migrants at trolley stations throughout the county.

As a result of the influx, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has temporarily suspended the Ped West pedestrian crossing.

RELATED: Border Patrol agents begin street releases of migrants in San Diego County

A CBP spokesman said, “callous human smuggling organizations are moving migrants through the enforcement zone in the San Diego area.”

The agency said it is prioritizing the processing of at-risk populations including families and children.

Hundreds of men remained waiting outside in between two border walls along the border on Thursday.

“We remain vigilant and expect to see fluctuations in irregular migration knowing that smugglers continue to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals,” CBP's spokesman said.

Local political leaders called on the White House Friday to provide more resources to address the influx.