California will allocate up to $28 million to help migrants arriving from Mexico after being released to the United States until they are summoned to court, a sharp contrast to measures taken by other border states opposed to President Joe Biden’s immigration policies.
The funds, which are expected to last until June, are offered at a time when Biden is reversing the policy implemented by former President Donald Trump, which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until the date of their court hearings. The money will be used to pay for hotel rooms so that immigrants are quarantined during the coronavirus pandemic before they travel to their final destination in the United States.
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The money will also go to the San Diego Jewish Family Service organization to provide food, transportation, and assistance with travel logistics. The state will fund health services for short stays, including testing for COVID-19.
Last week, the Biden administration began allowing people who had to wait across the border into the United States under Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” policy. On his first day in office, Biden suspended the program for new arrivals.
Approximately 26,000 people with active cases will be allowed into the United States. About 25 people are released each day in the city of San Diego.
“This is what happens when California and Washington communicate” instead of just talking to each other without listening to each other, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance.
The first asylum seekers waiting in the Mexican city of Matamoros, located near the border and which houses a migrant camp in miserable conditions, were processed for entry Thursday in Brownsville, Texas. Processing began Friday in El Paso, Texas.
At the same time, the United States is releasing more asylum seekers who are not enrolled in the “Stay in Mexico” program in the country, just as it did with hundreds of thousands of people before Trump left Mexico the responsibility to house asylum seekers in 2019.
While most people are expeditiously removed without the opportunity to seek asylum under measures imposed by Trump during the coronavirus pandemic and which Biden has kept in place, limited releases in the United States have raised financial and humanitarian concerns in some border towns.
“There is no plan of action once the Border Patrol releases migrants in urban centers after being detained,” said Bruno Lozano, mayor of the southern city of Del Rio, Texas, during an interview.
So far, California has been the most generous state with aid. In addition to the new funding, it has already spent about $ 12 million to help some 30,000 asylum seekers at the border since the Trump presidency.
With the help of AP reporters, Nomaan Merchant in Houston and Anita Snow in Phoenix contributed to this report.