Shelter for Asylum-Seeking Migrants Opens in Vacant San Diego Courthouse
Excerpts from KQED News article
As a record number of Central American migrants were apprehended by Customs and Border Protection along the southern border this week, a rare bipartisan effort in San Diego led to a shelter opening for asylum-seekers inside a courthouse that was once slated for demolition.
The new shelter replaces a series of ad hoc spaces that had been cobbled together by the San Diego Rapid Response Network, a coalition of community groups that formed in 2017 to help support the immigrant community in San Diego.
In October, Immigration and Customs Enforcement ended a program where the agency helped asylum-seekers being released from custody arrange travel inside the country.
As a result, migrant families are released from custody to the streets with nowhere to stay in the short term. The San Diego Rapid Response Network has been helping to manage the fallout of this decision.
By the end of last year, the coalition was running out of money and desperate for a permanent location for the shelter. That’s when local politicians stepped in and announced they would be leasing a vacant courthouse to the Rapid Response Network for a dollar a year.
“We got here today to this situation because of the failure of the federal government, they ended a humane policy that had worked for decades,” newly-elected Democratic county supervisor Nathan Fletcher told reporters inside of a former courtroom at the site of the new shelter. “But out of that failure has come something that I think San Diegans should be very proud of.”