Migrants stay at Border Line Crisis Center in Tijuana on Dec 21. 2022, while waiting to enter the United States.
Migrants stay at Border Line Crisis Center in Tijuana on Dec 21. 2022, while waiting to enter the United States. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

With the looming expiration of the federal government’s order under Title 42, San Diego is bracing for what could be a significant influx of migrants seeking asylum who were turned away during the pandemic. But it’s still unclear what the actual plan is. 

Nearly three months ago, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors directed Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer to prepare for the arrival of asylum seekers entering the U.S. to lessen the impact on the region’s growing homelessness crisis. 

On Wednesday, Michael Workman, the county’s director of communications, said a comprehensive long range plan is headed to the board soon.

In the meantime, county officials have been meeting with other agencies and service providers and prepared a list of unused and underused properties that may be used to build out shelter infrastructure. They’ve also petitioned federal representatives for help. 

(Continue reading about the county.)

Vargas asked the region’s congressional delegation for immigration reform legislation and funding. Supervisor Joel Anderson also pointed out that Congress made $800 million available last year for shelter and other migrant services, but the administration has yet to release the money to local governments and organizations. 

“Those seeking safety and asylum in our country have a right to humane treatment and local entities cannot bear the brunt of this need created by federal policies,” Vargas wrote. 

How we got here: The Trump administration put Title 42 to use on the rationale that it would limit the spread of Covid-19, and the U.S. Supreme Court kept the restrictions in place longer than planned. So when the shelters reached capacity, federal authorities just dropped hundreds of people onto the streets. 

Lisa Halverstadt reported last fall that dozens of migrants were staying in city-funded homeless shelters amid a spike in border arrivals. Shelter providers struggled to connect migrants to resources they typically tap into to aid homeless San Diegans. 

Deadline looms: CBS 8 reports that the Biden administration is sending 1,500 more troops to the southwest border to help when Title 42 expires on May 11. Exhausted migrants, some of whom said they hadn’t eaten in days, are already lining up. Some are being transported to Border Patrol stations to get the process of asylum started. Other border communities, like El Paso, have already declared a state of emergency

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has also met with federal officials. “Ultimately, the only real solution is for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that constructively addresses this issue and ends this cycle of crises that have a profound impact on American cities,” he said in a statement. 

North County Report: Meet the Woman Cleaning Escondido’s Park Restrooms 

Kit Carson Park in Escondido on April 20, 2023.
Kit Carson Park in Escondido on April 20, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Former Escondido resident Amy Landers is tired of seeing filthy restrooms at the parks her kids like to play at, so she has decided to do something about it.

For the past several months, Landers has been voluntarily deep cleaning park bathrooms across Escondido, and she’s documenting her journey on social media for her hundreds of thousands of followers.

The problem goes back to Escondido’s budget deficit that has impacted some aspects of the city, especially maintenance and public works. This includes maintenance of city parks and park restrooms.

But Landers wants the city to find a solution, and she hopes she can raise enough awareness to inspire one.

Read the North County Report here. 

Related: North County reporter Tigist Layne recently wrote about Escondido’s growing budget deficit and how it has impacted some aspects of the community over the years. 

Wait for Affordable Housing Longer in San Diego County Than Any Other Metro

Ocean View Hills Nestor San Diego
A San Diego neighborhood seen here on Dec. 12, 2021. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

ABC News reported on Wednesday that San Diego County residents who sign up for subsidized housing waited an average of 18 years for placement. That’s the longest average wait time for public housing of any large U.S. metropolitan area.

Public housing is housing operated by a housing authority and reserved for individuals who make less than 50 percent of an area’s median income.

Though significantly shorter than the wait for public housing, those who applied for housing vouchers that can be used to offset rent for privately owned housing still waited an average of nearly eight years. 

Why This Matters: These long wait times for housing assistance programs are especially worrisome for San Diego County residents given rents have surged in recent years and the number of people falling into homelessness has outpaced the region’s ability to house them.

In Other News 

  • Several gun rights groups filed a lawsuit in San Diego federal court seeking to overturn California’s 10-day waiting period for firearm purchases. (Union Tribune)
  • Following the Board of Supervisors’ decision to fill the seat vacated by Nathan Fletcher’s pending resignation with a special election, Amy Reichert, founder of ReOpen San Diego has announced she will once again be running. (10News)
  • Questions about whether Assemblymember Brian Maienschein’s eligible to run for city attorney have prompted current city attorney Mara Elliott to hire outside counsel to investigate. The city attorney position requires candidates to have been a licensed attorney for 10 years, and though Maienschein has been licensed for 28 years, that license has been active for less than seven years. (Union-Tribune)
  • The captain overseeing SEAL training in Coronado was prematurely relieved of command amid a training death probe. (NBC 7) 

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, Jakob McWhinney and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. 

Clarification: This post was updated to clarify how Title 42 is used.

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