San Diego, CA

New fund established for unaccompanied minors arriving in San Diego

Kelly E.

Emergency support for migrant teen girls

Photo credit: San Diego Convention Center where over a thousand migrant girls are being sheltered. Creative Commons

As hundreds of migrant girls aged between 13 and 17 arrive at the newly set up San Diego Convention Center’s migrant shelter, plans are being made to support them in their new lives.

The shelter was opened March 27 with an initial arrival of more than 400 girls, mostly from Texas. It was set up in an effort to reduce the amount of time children spend in Border Patrol facilities.

On March 30, the San Diego Foundation announced the establishment of a For The Girls rapid response fund which will be used to support local non-profits working with the new teen arrivals.

"Funds will be used to provide assistance to the girls, including flexible emergency support and funds for the girls’ emerging needs," says the Foundation.

The Foundation focuses on enabling community solutions and donating in areas which improve the quality of life in the San Diego region. Donations can be made on their website.

Many San Diego non-profits and residents have got onboard assisting with the shelter, such as SBCS (formerly South Bay Community Services) who are providing social services to the migrant teens.

Photo credit: SBCS, March 28, 2021

“It is an honor to be trusted with this critical work. At this time, we are actively working alongside other social service agencies, health care providers, and local, state and federal agencies to stand up the safe, healthy, therapeutic, nurturing and enriching environment that all children deserve," says SBCS CEO Kathie Lembo in her official statement.

Volunteers and donors can contact the SBCS at their website.

The shelter is one temporary solution to the ongoing issue of overcrowded Border Patrol facilities.

According to The New York Times, 18,700+ unaccompanied children and teenagers were taken into custody in March after crossing the border, which is nearly double the 9,450 (aprox.) number of minors detained in February, 2021.

Pete Weldy, Regional Administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), said the aim is find the girls permanent homes preferably with family.

“There's a lot of verification of identity that happens to ensure that they are being received by the proper person when they arrive. These are distant relatives, cousins, siblings, other family members. That's the ideal. Or they can find other or other permanent sponsors as well,” says Weldy.

San Diego Shelter is a temporary solution to overcrowding. Image: Weslaco Station, Texas 2019 Creative Commons

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