Over a quarter of San Diegans were born in another country. Immigrants and refugees are an integral part of San Diego County, both bringing rich cultural diversity and helping drive our local economy. Oftentimes these individuals have a unique set of needs as they transition into their new communities.
Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer after joining the Board in 2021 started to change the culture around how the County uplifted immigrant families and children. Immigrant families are usually fleeing government persecution, sex trafficking, and poverty. They have the right to pursue a better life.
By partnering with local non-profits and providing significant funding the County supported the opening of a temporary migrant center in 2023 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 created 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. 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.
San Diego County has come a long way in how it responds to the needs of immigrant families, but more needs to be done to ensure all immigrant families receive support and are welcome.