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HomeGeneralOrganizations File Complaints As Asylum-Seekers Face Harsh Conditions in San Diego

Organizations File Complaints As Asylum-Seekers Face Harsh Conditions in San Diego

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Cluster of migrants in a crowded shelter
Source: Sandor Csudai/Shawangunk Journal

Several immigrant rights organizations have raised concerns about the treatment of asylum-seekers in San Diego. They accuse Border Patrol agents of subjecting them to harsh conditions in makeshift open-air detention sites.

The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. It highlights issues related to inadequate food, water, shelter, bathrooms, and medical care, resulting in prolonged stays for these individuals in the East County desert.

The complaint contends that Border Patrol agents are violating Customs and Border Protection’s federal standards. This is by not providing essential services to asylum-seekers, leaving them in conditions that fall far short of acceptable standards.

Meanwhile, one key issue raised is the scarcity of basic necessities. Asylum-seekers receive only a single bottle of water and a small daily snack.

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Women at these sites must visit restrooms in groups for safety and use cardboard for privacy. The complaint emphasizes that volunteers provide medical care and supplies due to CBP’s failure.

The second complaint this year against border agents for mistreating asylum-seekers follows a previous one submitted in May.

Pedro Rios, the director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S.-Mexico Border program, expressed grave concerns about subjecting asylum-seekers to lengthy waits. In addition, stated that it is “unconscionable” for Border Patrol agents to expose migrants to dangerous conditions.

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He also mentioned the tragic incident of a medically vulnerable individual who lost their life at an open-air detention site in San Diego.

While the Jacumba Hot Springs in San Diego is not an official CBP detention site, it has become a focal point for border crossings.

Immigrant groups allege that Border Patrol holds immigrants in poor conditions at makeshift open-air camps near Jacumba Hot Springs.

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Surprisingly, despite raised concerns in recent months, the situation has not shown signs of improvement. According to the Los Angeles Times, the camp now accommodates up to 1,200 individuals.

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San Diego County is facing the challenge of providing shelter for migrant arrivals. This challenge has been further exacerbated by the release of 42,000 migrants by federal officials between September and November.

Despite serious allegations, CBP and DHS have not responded to inquiries about human rights violations raised by two complaints. 

This situation deeply concerns human rights advocates and organizations supporting asylum-seekers.

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