Since early November, the IRC in San Diego has been responding to the needs of asylum seeking families in San Diego who have been released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention with no resources as they await their asylum hearing. Between 50 and 100 individuals have been released each day since late October, and are in need of shelter, food, medical care and assistance coordinating transportation. All of the families being released are those who have relatives somewhere in the U.S. who they are trying to reunite with. They are released with an ankle monitor, a Letter of Recognizance and Notice to Appear and little else.
An emergency shelter has been set up by the San Diego Rapid Response Network, where the IRC has been one of several supporting agencies providing case management support for families. The majority of families stay for 24 to 48 hours and receive basic needs support and help scheduling bus or plane tickets before moving on to their final destination with family. A smaller portion, around 5%, do not have relatives in the US and will stay in San Diego where they will be in need of longer-term case management support.
Support for Families
The IRC has been sending both staff and volunteers to cover shifts at the shelter 7 days per week and will continue to do so at least through December, or as long as support is needed. Case management staff have also begun to enroll those families who are staying in San Diego for longer term case management support through the IRC office. Financial contributions to support these efforts are critically needed, as are volunteers fluent in Spanish who are willing to assist with translation and interpretation. Community members interested in supporting this effort should contact Laurel.Dalsted [at] Rescue.org.