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Newsom Discusses Border Region During San Ysidro Visit

This Jan. 24, 2019 file photo shows California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacrament...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: This Jan. 24, 2019 file photo shows California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom is praising San Diego County for providing a shelter for asylum seekers released onto the streets and wants the state to providing funding to help.

Gov. Gavin Newsom met with local leaders and residents in San Ysidro Thursday to discuss the border region and celebrate the opening of a shelter that will temporarily house migrants.

Newsom, a vocal opponent of the Trump administration's border policies, heard from business owners and activists about the impacts of those policies in their communities. Edgar Alamiz who owns the restaurant Newsom visited said he lost business and customers when the border shut down in December.

"I definitely know that there's a lot of people that when they closed the border in December, just wouldn't leave their house. Why? Because they don't feel comfortable within their own neighborhood," Alamiz said.

Residents of San Ysidro called on Newsom to address their concerns about a lack of affordable housing and healthcare, access to educational opportunities and an increase in pollution and water contamination along the border.

"We are so resilient, but it gets to a point where when you are portrayed as a people and as a border region and community as a bad thing or a bad place, then it takes ten times more time and energy to address real things and real needs that are happening in the community," said Lisa Cuestas, a community activist.

Newsom also addressed a recent NBC San Diego investigation that uncovered that the U.S. government was tracking journalists and immigration activists in a secret database. He compared the situation to the Trump administration policy of family separation. The government later admitted in Senate hearings that it lost track of nearly 1500 migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border.

"The irony of that shouldn't be lost on anyone, that we have better data collection against journalists than we do children and parents," Newsom said.

The first bill Newsom signed as governor, AB 72, established "The Rapid Response Reserve Fund" and provided $5 million to help San Diego County find shelter and transportation solutions for recent immigrants and asylum-seekers waiting to plead their case before an immigration court.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Jan. 29 to lease a property in Bankers Hill to the San Diego Rapid Response Network, a coalition of human rights, service and faith organizations that offer humanitarian aid to asylum-seeking migrants, to serve as the shelter.

Gov. Gavin Newsom met with local leaders and residents in San Ysidro Thursday to discuss the border region and celebrate the opening of a shelter that will temporarily house migrants.

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