From Michael Hopkins, CEO
Yesterday’s refusal by the Supreme Court to block a lower court order, thereby allowing the reinstatement of the abhorrent policy known as the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), is devastating to the progress that has been made in lawfully ending and unwinding a cruel and inhumane program. The Biden administration must uphold its promise to end MPP and protect those seeking asylum at our borders.
In anticipation of this negative decision and its disastrous consequences for families seeking to find safety and opportunity, Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) worked tirelessly yesterday – the last day of processing and crossing – to assist as many individuals and families through the MPP wind-down process as possible. Working through the night, we welcomed an additional 37 individuals comprising 16 families. As JFS staff were at the Port, the news of the SCOTUS decision came down.
MPP has already deprived more than 70,000 vulnerable migrants of the protection they desperately seek, and access to vital resources and assistance in the U.S., including legal aid. This reinstatement will force countless more to wait in dangerous living conditions for an untold amount of time as they wait to exercise their legal, human right to seek asylum.
Over the last two years, we have seen first-hand the mental and physical toll the policy places on those traumatized by the violence and persecution they have fled from in their home countries. MPP is a violation of international asylum law that must be allowed to continue.
As one of the few legal service providers in the southern border region providing critical assistance to individuals and families impacted by MPP program its inception, JFS stands at the ready to welcome asylum-seekers to the United States with respect and dignity. Since February 19, 2021, JFS has assisted 2,730 individuals who had been entered into MPP, as well as more than 48,000 asylum seekers through the San Diego Rapid Response Network Migrant Shelter Services over the last three years.
JFS also works alongside the 65-plus organizations of the California Welcoming Task Force in anticipation of policy changes and will continue to make public health the priority for our community, staff, and asylum-seeking individuals.
Despite this setback, we will continue to live our values to “Welcome the Stanger” with dignity and compassion, and we remain optimistic and committed to creating a fair and humane asylum system that welcomes people who are fleeing persecution and come to America seeking safety, security, and a better life.