The Fresno Bee – Communities along the California-Mexico border continue to experience the impact of two intertwined international crises – the rapid influx and arrival of migrants seeking asylum and the ongoing spread of the highly infectious coronavirus.
The state has dedicated funding toward humanitarian services for asylum seekers who have been released from federal immigration custody since before the pandemic.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is now proposing to add an extra infusion of money to those efforts.
He has proposed allocating an additional $110 million towards vaccinations and testing of asylum seekers, as well as isolation and quarantine requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding, which he announced in January, is part of a $2.7 billion COVID-19 response package included in the proposed 2022-23 budget. Some of the funds will also be used to expand statewide contact tracing.
Daniel Lopez, the governor’s press secretary, said in a statement:
“California’s operations and partnership with the federal government ensures migrants released from federal immigration custody at the border receive COVID-19 testing and support services to ensure safe travel to their ultimate destination in the United States, where they will continue with their immigration proceedings.”
“Through these efforts, California has advanced a state-run national model that protects the health and well-being of arriving migrants and our border communities.”
But the state funding, while critical, doesn’t address the public health challenges migrants face on the Mexican side of the border, said Andy Carey, the executive director of the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, a binational organization that provides services to help the migrant population.
Newsom’s office estimates that the funding to support migrant shelters had provided services for nearly 96,000 migrants as of Feb. 7.
But some advocates say many more migrants exercising their international right to seek asylum have been denied entry into the U.S. … READ MORE.