San Diego County sues Trump admin for high cost of overflow by asylum seekers

San Diego County has sued the Trump administration over an immigration program that has created an overflow of asylum-seekers into the region.

The lawsuit claims that the California county has been negatively impacted by a “sudden and unlawful change in policy” that has allowed the quick release of asylum-seeking families into the area without providing assistance for food and shelter, KSWB-TV reported.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s “Safe Release” program was discontinued in October as the agency said it faced an overwhelming number of migrants who had to be processed. The program provided migrants awaiting federal hearings with aid for food and housing and its discontinuation left them stranded, needing local governments and nonprofit groups to step in and make up the financial gap.

That decision was called “arbitrary and capricious” in the lawsuit, KTLA-TV reported.

“The prior policy treated asylum seekers with care and dignity and helped to prevent a dramatic increase in the county’s homeless population and accompanying public health concerns and related costs and expenditures,” the lawsuit, which names the heads of ICE, Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol, said.

The cost of caring for asylum-seekers had reached $1.1 million back in February when the Board of Supervisors agreed to file the lawsuit, which is demanding the administration reinstate the Safe Release program. But the figure has grown since that time, according to Supervisor Dianne Jacobs.

“The federal government’s negligent approach to those seeking asylum is taking a huge toll on San Diego County taxpayers,” Jacobs said in a statement. “The county has already spent over $1.3 million to address health and safety issues at the asylum shelter. That figure is ballooning by the day.”

Last April, the Republican supervisors had voted to back the Trump administration and its lawsuit challenging California’s sanctuary laws. But now, the one Democrat on the board, slammed the president and the policy change.

“I am proud our county is stepping up to take on Trump,” Fletcher wrote in a statement. “I hope other jurisdictions will join us in this lawsuit.” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said, according to the Voice of San Diego.

According to KTLA:

President Donald Trump has railed against the practice, tweeting in November that the policy he dubbed “Catch and Release” was over.

But in recent months, the number of families crossing into the U.S. has climbed to record highs, pushing the system to what administration officials say is a breaking point. Since Dec. 21, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has set free more than 125,000 people who came into the U.S. as families.

Customs and Border Protection is also overloaded, and instead of holding families for up to 72 hours before turning them over to ICE, it has started releasing them directly into the U.S., sometimes so quickly they haven’t time to make travel arrangements. Families are given court dates, a head of household is often fitted with an ankle monitor, and they are dropped off at a charity-run shelter or bus station.


And as relief organizations struggle to meet the influx of illegal immigrants pouring over the border, the state of California continues to spread its welcoming arms with its newly elected governor, Gavin Newsom, declaring there is no immigration crisis despite what Trump said.

Twitter users seemed to think San Diego County, and the state of California, are getting just what they deserve.


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Frieda Powers


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