From Michael Hopkins, CEO
For the thousands of people looking for protection while they seek asylum, Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) hopes that the Department of Homeland Security’s ending of the unlawful and cruel “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP, also known as “Remain in Mexico” policy) is the catalyst to many more actions to rebuild our immigration system into one that welcomes with compassion, safety, dignity and equity.
Over the last three years, MPP has negatively impacted more than 70,000 migrants waiting to exercise their legal, human right to seek asylum in the U.S. For far too long, pregnant women, families with young children, and other vulnerable populations — already traumatized by the violence and persecution they have fled in their home countries – have been forced to remain in dangerous living conditions, deprived of the protection they deserve, and blocked from accessing vital resources, such as legal assistance.
As one of the few legal service providers in the southern border region providing critical assistance to individuals and families impacted by MPP since its inception, JFS will be in immigration court on a regular basis to assist with the legal needs of MPP respondents from the second version of MPP who are brought to court, disenrolled from MPP and released. We will also assess their needs for San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant (SDRRN) Shelter Services.
JFS has begun welcoming the first individuals removed from MPP 2.0 into SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services. While we had hoped a greater number of individuals would be disenrolled from MPP each day, we expect a handful or two of people to be processed each day. In coordination with all levels of government, SDRRN assists vulnerable asylum-seeking families and individuals, providing respite shelter services, case management, food, financial and travel assistance, and legal support, as well as COVID-19 testing and overall medical screenings and support through UCSD Health.
Ending MPP is a critical step. Now, the Biden Administration must swiftly move to unwind and disenroll the estimated 4,000 individuals who had been enrolled into MPP 2.0 and individuals who have been left in danger from MPP 1.0 in Mexico, stranded with no relief. The Biden Administration must also work to end other horrific policies such as Title 42 — which were inherently designed to foreclose the ability of asylum seekers to access protection in the U.S.
We continue to live out our values of “Welcoming the Stranger,” and remain committed to creating a fair and humane asylum system that welcomes people who come to America seeking safety, security and a better life. This critical work is only possible with the support of donations at www.rapidresponsesd.org and volunteers at www.jfssd.org/helpnow.