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Border & Immigration

San Diego communities prepare for CBP drop-offs after Migrant Welcome Center closure

It’s been just under a week since SBCS, the organization running the Migrant Welcome Center, said it was closing down on Feb. 22.

The decision is making some people nervous — especially those who led efforts to serve the migrants before the center opened back in October.

“It gave me a little bit of heartburn,” said the city of Oceanside’s Salvador Roman. “It took a toll on all the resources and providers that were out there.”


The Oceanside Transit Center was one of the sites where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) dropped off migrants.

Roman explained what it was like last September and October before the migrant welcome center was open.

“Sometimes we’d get 50 (people), sometimes we get close to 200, but it would average around 100 a day,” Roman said. “Last fall was nonstop, every day. Monday through Sunday, no breaks, no time off.”

He said CBP had a virtual meeting with local leaders on Tuesday and told them it’s possible the transit center drop-offs could start again.

Last fall, nonprofit organizations stepped up to help.


“Just the idea of having to rely on them again and hoping that they respond is my biggest concern. Because it was a lot, it took a lot out of them, it took a lot out of our community,” Roman said.

The North County LGBTQ Resource Center was one of the nonprofits that provided resources for migrants at the Oceanside Transit Center last fall.

“It was intense because it was hard to communicate with Border Patrol and understanding exactly how many people (they were bringing), and where and when they were going to drop people,” said the organization’s executive director Max Disposti.

He said now, the LGBTQ Resource Center can’t help to the same degree.

“We're definitely going to evaluate what we're going to do, but it can not be anything close to what we did months ago,” Disposti said.

Interfaith Community Services was another leader in the North County effort.

They declined an interview but in a written statement spokesperson Logan Goverman said their “resources were stretched thin” as they worked 12-16 hours a day.

He also said that as “the numbers continue to increase Interfaith cannot meet these needs.”

The city of Oceanside’s Roman said they’re preparing a Rapid Response Network within North County ahead of the Migrant Welcome Center closure.

“There's already a need for resources within our residents, so having to respond I think would be a huge setback for us,” Roman said.

CBP did not respond to our request for comment on the matter.

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