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City, County Leaders Call For Federal Aid As Migrants Fly To San Diego

Border Patrol agents hold a news conference prior to a media tour of a new U....

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Border Patrol agents hold a news conference prior to a media tour of a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary facility near the Donna International Bridge, Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Donna, Texas.

Local elected officials on Monday called for additional resources from the federal government to help deal with hundreds of migrant families expected to be flown to San Diego from Texas in the coming weeks.

Customs and Border Protection announced Friday it would begin sending flights of between 120 and 135 migrants to San Diego from the Rio Grande Valley, saying Border Patrol stations there are overwhelmed by a surge in migrant apprehensions. The agency said it is planning three such flights per week.

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said in an email she was "deeply concerned" that the additional migrants flown to San Diego would put an even greater strain on local nonprofits and taxpayers.

RELATED: Border Patrol Flies Migrants From Texas To San Diego

"Immigration is clearly the responsibility of the federal government, but now it's sticking San Diego County with the bill," Jacob said. "Since the opening of an emergency shelter downtown in October, the county has had to spend nearly $2 million to screen and process some 14,000 asylum seekers. Local taxpayers should not be on the hook for this."

Since last fall, a group of nonprofits operating as the San Diego Rapid Response Network has been operating a temporary shelter for migrants released from federal custody. The shelter is funded in part by county and state dollars.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher released a statement on Friday saying the county would continue to do everything it could to help the families being flown to San Diego.

"Donald Trump has manufactured this immigration crisis to drive his political agenda," Fletcher said. "His inability to lead has put undue burden on local communities. We stand ready to help immigrants and protect the public's health."

RELATED: San Diego County Sues Trump Administration Over Asylum Policy

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Monday the shelter's operators were doing "tremendous work" under difficult circumstances, and that they should be getting federal resources.

"It's incredibly important that the federal government jump in and ... provide help and support, and that is the message that I will continue to be advocating in Washington, D.C.," Faulconer said.

The flights to San Diego, which are operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are part of a larger policy to transport migrants held on suspicion of illegal entry into the United States to sectors with excess capacity. ICE is also transporting migrants by bus from the Yuma Sector to the El Centro Sector, and from the Rio Grande Valley Sector to the Laredo Sector.

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

In today's San Diego News Matters podcast: the latest on the migrant influx from Texas to San Diego, the future of Horton Plaza and the zoo's efforts to revive the nearly extinct northern white rhino.

Aired: May 21, 2019 | Transcript

By Reporter Andrew Bowen

Local elected officials on Monday called for additional resources from the federal government to help deal with hundreds of migrants expected to be flown to San Diego from Texas in the coming weeks.

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