San Diego County Officials Request Federal Help After 50,000 Migrants Arrive in 3 Months

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San Diego County Officials Request Federal Help After 50,000 Migrants Arrive in 3 Months

Migrants who passed through a gap in the United States border wall await processing by Border Patrol agents in Jacumba, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

12/12/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Elected leaders in San Diego County, including a supervisor and a mayor, are asking the federal government for an immediate change to border enforcement policies after more than 50,000 immigrants were “dropped” in the area since Sept. 13.
“The strain on resources, infrastructure, and the capacity of our immigration system is reaching critical levels, and there is no end in sight,” Jim Desmond, San Diego County Supervisor, said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times Dec. 11. “I call upon the Senate and House to act urgently and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Citing unprecedented levels of illegal border crossings, officials said swift action is needed to address a growing crisis. More than 3.2 million immigrants entered the country from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023, a jump of nearly 16 percent from the previous fiscal year—recently released customs data reveals.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection considers its fiscal year from October until September.
Additionally, more than 8.2 million immigrants—about half the population of New York City—have entered the country since 2021. About two-thirds were single adults, according to border patrol statistics.
Customs officials have recently also noted that individual family members seeking to join others already in the U.S. grew substantially the last year, with more being denied entry between May and October than in any previous year.
“Our broken asylum-seeking process requires immediate attention and reform,” Mr. Desmond said. “We need a streamlined and effective system that ensures due process while preventing abuse and exploitation.”
With Mr. Desmond the lone dissenting vote, supervisors approved $3 million in October, and another $3 million Dec. 5 from federal American Rescue Act—signed by President Joe Biden in 2021 and also known as the COVID-19 stimulus—funds to address the issue.
The money will assist with so-called “street releases”—providing immigrants with “essential services,” including transportation, translation assistance, and access to phones and Wi-Fi.
“This aligns with our mission to address the inhumane practice of releasing asylum-seeking migrants without adequate support, ultimately safeguarding the quality of life within our communities,” the recently approved resolution reads.
Critics say the money would be better spent on programs directly benefitting San Diego County residents and suggest the federal government is responsible for the immigration debacle.
“We have now spent $6 million on a federal issue while the problem continues to grow,” Mr. Desmond said. “We should hit reset and close the border to new immigrants until we fix our immigration system with a safe, orderly, and humane approach for all.”
One local mayor says the problem has grown so immense that public safety is jeopardized—saying resources are overwhelmed and a lack of background checks for immigrants is putting communities at risk.
“The situation has reached an undeniable crisis, and the safety of San Diego County is at stake,” Bill Wells, mayor of El Cajon—located east of San Diego—said in a statement emailed Dec. 11 to The Epoch Times. “The border is in complete chaos.”
The number of non-citizens detained or denied entry at border crossings due to their inclusion on the nation’s terrorist watch list also set a record—with 172 instances in 2023, a spike from 98 the year before, according to border patrol agency enforcement data. From 2017 to 2020, only 14 individuals on the terrorist watch list were encountered.
Current figures suggest that national security should be a motivating factor in addressing the problem, according to Mr. Wells.
“We must secure the border for the safety of our country,” he said.
Customs and Border Protection did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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