SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — As a white bus pulled up to what used to be an elementary school in San Diego’s Mid-City neighborhood, dozens of volunteers got ready to receive yet another busload of asylum seekers needing “direction.”
This time, only adult men came off the bus; they were then escorted into what used to be the school’s cafeteria.
The first thing most migrants did was connect their cell phones to several power strips that had been laid out on tables.
“These individuals are scared; this is a new country for them, so we’ll spend a little time helping them to get them to their final destination,” said Mauricio Torre, one of the volunteers with an agency called SBCS.
Torre stated that they are helping anywhere from 400 to 700 migrants daily.
“They are grabbing some food and a cup of coffee, and they’ll sit here waiting till they get situated and wait for their sponsor to come pick them up,” he said. “A big part of what we’re doing is we provide compassion and support for individuals, helping them with their onward travel, helping them get to the airport, we’re arranging to transport for them as well.”
According to Torre, most migrants stay about 8 hours before they are picked up and have arranged for a ride to the airport.
“In some rare cases, we provide them with an overnight stay at a nearby hotel.”
The County of San Diego is sponsoring the facility.
Supervisor Nora Vargas and other officials spent the morning touring the site.
“If it weren’t for the fact the County of San Diego was able to allocate $3 million, we would be in a very difficult situation,” said Vargas. “I’m afraid if we didn’t have a location like this, we’d go back to a time when people were dropped off at different locations throughout San Diego County; that is just not safe for them for everyone else.”
Vargas stated they have asked the federal government for money to keep the center open beyond December.