California Leader Attacks ‘Concierge Service’ for Migrants

By: Georgia | Published: May 03, 2024

Supervisor Jim Desmond of San Diego County opposes a plan to spend over $19 million in federal funding on a new migrant and asylum-seeker transit center. 

He believes the money will not address long-term challenges at the migrant “epicenter.” Despite his objections, the funding was approved in a 4-1 vote.

Follow the Money

The approved funds are designated to support the provision of shelter, food, transportation, acute medical care, personal hygiene supplies, and labor to assist migrants recently released from federal custody. 

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A view of a long border fence separating a busy urban area from a green field, with numerous buildings and billboards visible in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These resources are intended to provide immediate relief to migrants as they transition out of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody.

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Temporary Solutions Drying Up

Initial steps saw $3 million allocated each in October and December to kickstart a temporary center. 

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Migrants walking through a modern border crossing facility, carrying luggage and personal belongings, with a high-security fence visible on either side

Source: Wikimedia Commons

As funds dwindled, the board faced pressure to devise a more sustainable strategy.

Desmond's Stance on Spending

Desmond criticizes the current use of funds: “The recent allocation of $19 million in federal dollars will not solve the crisis,” he told Newsweek

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Two men, presumably a news reporter and a border official, engaged in an interview at a border area, with a microphone displaying a news channel logo

Source: jim_desmond/X

He prefers a pivot toward enhancing border safety and enforcement.

Border Apprehensions Soar

The San Diego border sector has seen a significant increase in apprehensions, with 214,855 individuals from more than 75 countries detained since October 1, according to Supervisor Desmond. 

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A group of U.S. Border Patrol agents seated in a room, wearing green uniforms with the Border Patrol logo, attending a briefing

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This demonstrates the ongoing challenges faced at the border.

A Busy Week at the Border

In one week alone, more than 9,000 individuals were apprehended by the Border Patrol, including 218 unaccompanied minors. 

A Border Patrol officer wearing a helmet and body armor riding an all-terrain vehicle in a hilly desert landscape, patrolling the area

Source: USBPChiefSDC/X

These numbers were shared by Chief Patrol Agent Patricia McGurk-Daniel on X, formerly Twitter, highlighting the scale of border enforcement activities.

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The Contraband Challenge

During the same week, law enforcement agencies seized substantial amounts of narcotics.

A U.S. Border Patrol officer in a green uniform with a badge and equipped with gear, kneeling on a dirt ledge while surveying the hilly desert landscape

Source: USBPChiefSDC/X

Additionally, they intercepted 35 human-smuggling events and recovered various smuggling conveyances and firearms, reflecting the intense enforcement efforts at the border.

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Funding Priorities Questioned

Desmond expressed a clear preference for the funds: focus on safety rather than temporary shelters. 

An older man observed from behind, looking through a border fence at a large migrant camp with tents and many individuals gathered

Source: jim_desmond/X

“This money only allows for San Diego to process more people and send them elsewhere,” he remarked, highlighting his security-first approach.

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California's Sanctuary Status

Desmond criticized California’s sanctuary policies, arguing that they complicate the management of the migrant crisis by limiting coordination with federal immigration authorities. 

A long line of migrants, faces blurred for privacy, standing in a queue on a road with a grassy hill and border fence in the background

Source: USBPChiefSDC/X

He believes these policies are detrimental to the effective control and security of the border.

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A Plan for Dignity and Assistance

Board Chairperson Nora Vargas defended the plan, describing it as crucial for providing “dignified and humane assistance” to migrants. 

Several U.S. Border Patrol agents and another well-dressed man engaged in a conversation in a dirt parking lot near a border fence with the ocean in the background

Source: USBPChiefSDC/X

Her statement emphasized the commitment to helping asylum-seekers with necessary resources to reach their destinations safely and with dignity.

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Addressing Migrant Homelessness

Supervisor Joel Anderson, who co-sponsored the proposal, stressed that the funding would help reduce the risks of exploitation and homelessness among migrants. 

Inside a border processing facility where a U.S. Border Patrol agent is checking paperwork while a line of migrant women and children wait, some holding belongings

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“This action is a huge step in ensuring the safety of not only those who are entering our country seeking asylum but also of our residents,” he told Newsweek.

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Voices from the Community

The community is divided. Resident Pam criticizes the board’s actions, seeing them as detrimental. 

Aerial view showing a border fence extending into the ocean at a sandy beach, dividing urban areas with sparse vegetation around

Source: USBPChiefSDC/X

Meanwhile, other residents commend the board, proud of San Diego’s ongoing cultural and humanitarian efforts.

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