Supervisors Vote for a Bipartisan Immigration Bill After Clever Maneuver to Nullify Republican Border-Closing Effort

News Date

The Chairwoman and Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors today flipped the script on their colleague’s effort to urge President Joe Biden to close the U.S. - Mexico Border using a substitute motion that nullified his policy, and replaced it with sending a letter of support for a Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill to Fix the Border. The vote was 5-0 in favor of a bipartisan bill.  

Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer made the motion, and it was seconded by Chairwoman Nora Vargas and was as follows:   

“Direct the Interim Chief Administrative Officer to send a letter to the Majority Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, to work with President Biden to pass a Bipartisan Immigration Reform Bill to Fix the Border by addressing the delays in processing asylum, increase funding for FEMA to support local governments and NGOs, and modernize border security.”

"The San Diego/Tijuana region, with 7 million inhabitants and a regional GDP of $250 billion, is the largest integrated economic zone along the U.S.-Mexico border," said Chairwoman Vargas. "Its $70 billion in cross-border trade flow is crucial, not only for San Diego but also for California and the nation. Closure of the San Diego border would be disastrous, harming businesses, disrupting trade, destroying jobs, dividing families, and undermining binational efforts, without addressing the issues facing asylum seekers legally entering the United States."

“Republicans stopped the bipartisan immigration bill from passing as a favor to Donald Trump, and it has forced local governments like ours, along with nonprofits, to pick up the slack for the federal government,” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer. “There was no way Chairwoman Vargas and I were going to let our County support closing the border. Even though we flipped the script on this vote, we still need the federal government to step up. It’s the best way for us to help asylum seekers, and relieve the pressure on our local resources.”   

Review this link to the original policy presented by Republican Supervisor Joel Anderson. 

By partnering with local non-profits and providing significant funding the County supported the opening of a temporary migrant center in 2023 co-authored by Chairwoman Vargas to assist asylum seekers transitioning to their final destination - an action taken after border patrol callously dropped asylees off at bus stops with little guidance or support. 

Supervisor Lawson-Remer authored the Immigrant Rights Legal Defense Program. San Diego County is now the first border region with a permanent Immigrant Rights Legal Defense Program to provide free representation to community members facing removal proceedings. More than 1,100 people have been helped. The Immigrant Legal Defense Program makes our court system more efficient and protects the dignity and well-being of asylum seekers, children, and spouses and family members of U.S. citizens.