Senate Leader Toni Atkins Calls for Coordinated Action to Address the Humanitarian Crisis at the San Diego-Tijuana Border

December 18, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) today called on public officials at all levels of government to come together and work to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis in San Diego and Tijuana.

“I am watching with growing concern as thousands of migrants are released into the San Diego community in the middle of the night without so much as a meal to sustain them for one evening,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins. “Clearly, the federal government has abandoned all responsibility on this matter, and it is incumbent upon us to step in and find a solution.”

For months, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been releasing migrants into the San Diego community without the proper supports they need. The San Diego community, through the San Diego Rapid Response Network, has stepped in and convinced ICE to release the migrants to their care so they can conduct health screenings, find shelter and connect them to family members while their asylum cases are adjudicated.  

“Relying on non-profit social service agencies to shoulder this entire responsibility and without the resources to do so is not a process that can be sustained indefinitely,” said Atkins. “There is no excuse for inaction, it is the government’s responsibility to step in and solve this potential crisis.”

“I am having productive conversations with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and we will work together to find a solution. However, I am also calling on the County of San Diego and state officials to step up and provide services and funding that are desperately needed. And finally, I call on Congress and the federal administration to find a coherent, long-term solution to ensure migrants can exercise their right to seek asylum in a safe and orderly way, in accordance with U.S. and international law,” said Atkins.

The consequences of inaction can be dire. San Diego county recently saw what a lack of focus, action and coordination can result in – the death of 20 people and the infection of hundreds of others with hepatitis A – the worst outbreak of the disease in the U.S. since the 1990s. We can and must do better than this.



Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: