SAN DIEGO–In a closed-door session Tuesday, the San San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration for releasing asylum-seeking families into the San Diego county community.
In a released statement, Supervisor Kristin Gaspar condemned the decision to sue the federal government over the asylum policy.
“In an unprecedented maneuver today, my colleagues voted to hastily sue the federal government. This was done without any input from County staff, who was not given the direction or time to do any meaningful research or outreach to the agencies involved. The gains we have made with regard to assisting our asylum seeking families are now mired in a clumsy lawsuit that we have no chance of winning. I believe our federal immigration system needs major reforms, but I simply cannot put taxpayer dollars at risk for political posturing. I prefer to focus our time and efforts on real fixes rather than legal grandstanding.”
Board of Supervisors Chairman Dianne Jacob defended the lawsuit in a released statement.
“The Trump administration created this crisis by releasing asylum-seeking families into our community without providing critical resources or even places of shelter. The federal government has failed to consider the impact of its own actions on public health and safety, and the lawsuit is an effort to hold the feds accountable.”
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher explained why he supports the lawsuit against the federal government.
“I fully support taking legal action against the Trump administration over its failing immigration policy. While we want the courts to weigh in, San Diego County will not abandon asylum seekers. We are committed to continuing our work with San Diego Rapid Response Network and the state of California to ensure humane and compassionate treatment for all.”
On January 29, the County Board of Supervisors voted to lease its vacant former Family Court building downtown to Jewish Family Service so it can serve as a temporary shelter for asylum-seeking migrants.
The board voted 4-1 in favor of the shelter plan, with Supervisor Jim Desmond opposed.
The migrants have been legally admitted into the United States pending the outcome of their applications for asylum. Many intend to travel to other locations to reunite with family members, but federal immigration authorities have been releasing the migrants into San Diego communities before their travel plans are in place.
A network of nonprofit organizations called the San Diego Rapid Response Network stepped in to assist migrants in this transitional phase. Jewish Family Service of San Diego took the lead in operating a shelter, providing migrants a place to stay, food, medical care, legal services and help with travel arrangements. The average stay for families is 24 to 48 hours.