PRESS RELEASE: State Senate Approves Urgent Funding for Humanitarian Aid in San Diego

February 11, 2019

SACRAMENTO – The California Senate today approved $5 million to support nonprofit organizations that are currently responding to humanitarian immigration emergencies, such as the one in San Diego involving thousands of migrant families seeking asylum in the United States.

“The federal government has abandoned its responsibility to provide basic assistance to vulnerable families who are in our country legally and have been approved for asylum proceedings – instead dumping them on the streets of San Diego with nowhere to turn for help,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).

“I’m grateful to the San Diego Rapid Response Network, which immediately established a system of shelter, medical screenings, meals, legal aid and travel assistance for these families, and to the state Legislature for providing urgently needed support for the Network’s heroic efforts,” Atkins added.

“The San Diego Rapid Response Network applauds the Legislature and Governor Newsom for their leadership in providing critical funding to address our region’s migrant shelter crisis,” said Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service of San Diego, a core partner of the San Diego Rapid Response Network. “We look forward to working with the State to serve the needs of asylum-seeking families in San Diego County as they exercise their legal, human right to seek safety and protection from violence and persecution in their home countries.”

The funding, included in the omnibus Assembly Bill 72, was proposed as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s draft budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which includes an additional $20 million spread over the next three years for immigration or human-trafficking emergency situations when federal funding is not available.

“Although the recent influx of migrants seeking asylum is from countries in Central America where gangs are terrorizing communities, with climate change, civil war, oppression and economic hardship, tomorrow’s refugees can come from anywhere,” Atkins said. “California must be ready to provide services and support if the federal government does not uphold its responsibility. Immigrants and California communities need and deserve more accountability from the federal government.”


Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: