Good morning, Chair Vargas and Supervisors.
My name is Jeffrey Alonzo Karahamuheto. I am the organizing and political director at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. The ACLU is a proud member of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, whose motto is: No one stands alone in our community.
We are here to urge the Board of Supervisors to vote YES on the board letter introduced by Chair Vargas to allocate $3 million dollars to aid NGOs in providing critical humanitarian assistance to people seeking asylum who are being released into our region by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Since September 13, more than 12,500 people seeking asylum, including families with children, have been transported by U.S. immigration authorities into San Diego County and released without food, shelter or the means to reach their final destinations.
This is not the first time the federal government has released asylum seekers into our region. What’s important here is that it’s not the first time that San Diego’s nonprofit sector has shouldered the burden of responsibility to welcome newcomers with the human dignity that every individual deserves.
The county’s unfunded reliance on nonprofit organizations, grassroots groups and kindhearted volunteers to serve as San Diego’s ad hoc first responders and social safety net during humanitarian emergencies involving migrants is unsustainable and antithetical to good governance.
San Diego County is, and always will be, vibrantly multi-cultural and interconnected.
San Diego County is the hub of an international border mega-region that thrives because we welcome new arrivals from all over the world.
Our county government has a civic and moral obligation to mitigate the impacts of flawed federal immigration policy locally, and in line with San Diegan values, our local leaders should acknowledge and strive to lessen people's trauma.
It’s time to end the cycle of unfunded, ad hoc solutions. We urge the Board to secure the $3 million in funds to support an emergency humanitarian infrastructure.
The ACLU urges the Board of Supervisors to vote in favor of this Board Letter.
Thank you for your time and careful consideration.