San Diego Demonstrated Generosity to Refugees

[Update as of August 26, 2014]

Dear community members,

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

Due to your generosity, we have been able to provide refugee families arriving in San Diego with material aid, safe and dignified housing, transportation, and legal assistance.  Your outpouring of support helped put San Diego on the map as a caring and compassionate community.

As of now, SDIRC has collected sufficient material aid to meet the needs of the refugee families arrivi ng in San Diego and we are temporarily suspending the collection of donated  items until further notice.

We encourage you to check our website periodically for updates. If you would like to support the ongoing work of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium and strengthen our ability to respond to crises and assist refugees and immigrants in the border region, we encourage you to make a donation today.

What You Should Know About Central American Refugees

In effort to educate the public about what is happening, we offer these clarifying points:

  • Central American refugees, many of whom are children, are coming to the United States seeking humanitarian assistance because of the dangers they face in their home countries
  • All of the Central American refugees coming are presenting themselves to agents either at the border or in the field (they are not attempting illegal entry)
  • They are mostly entering though Texas, but are being transported to other parts of the border for processing
  • There are NO unaccompanied minors coming to CA; all are accompanied by family members (mostly mothers)
  • At the BP stations, the refugees will be processed for a Notice to Appear (NTA) in court to assess any claims they might have such as asylum
  • Processing may take a day to several days depending on the backlog during which time the refugees will sleep at the stations; they will be given sleeping cots, temporary clothing, and warm meals brought in by a contracted service provider
  • Once processed for an NTA, the refugees will be transported to downtown San Diego where ICE will make a custody determination (usually within a matter of hours)
  • Roughly 90% of the refugees have family in the US, but not in San Diego, and are destined to other parts of the country. Another 10% who do not have ties to the US will be released to sponsors (such as churches)
  • The refugees will be released on their own recognizance upon providing proof of family/sponsor, a destination address, and proof of means to get to the destination
  • Upon release, all will be given a parole document and will be required to appear at the ICE office within a certain number of days and will be scheduled for immigration court in the jurisdiction of their destination
  • All will be given their day in court to assess their eligibility to stay in the country based on eligibility for a humanitarian remedy or other remedy


  1. Olympia Beltran /

    Are there other things (clothes, diapers, blankets, etc.) that you would accept besides cash donations?

    • Yes. New clothing and shoes for women and children, toiletries, diapers, towels, and items to occupy children (toys, books, videos, balls) are needed.

  2. Samanth Berryessa /

    I would like to help. I am a California attorney. And have lives in Guatemala.

  3. Honora /

    Thank you so much for listing this information. So many people really want to help!

  4. Shirley Campbell Nunez /

    I am a nurse willing to donate time and services, also can we bring donations next week? I have to work all days but have items I live in yucca Valley.

  5. wslijk /

    I can sponcer a family or two I have a house in SD and a ranch in ramona. I can house a family that needs a place to stay wile they await their hearing

    • StanM /

      Did you ever hear back on how best to offer up housing while the children await their trials?

  6. Terry /

    I’m a retired elementary teacher. I could help by reading, movement songs, exercises, “assignments”,basic boredom alleiving!

  7. Rosalia /

    Hi, I have a bunch of items to donate to the refugees and I was wondering if there was a place I could bring the things on Sunday, July 13th at any time. I work on Saturday and am not able to make it to the drop off center.

    Please let me know as I am anxious to help in any way I can.


  8. Robert and Ruth Montaño /

    We live in Central California in San Luis Obispo County and would like to assist the recent arrivals to our country from South America. Is there a way we can assist? Do you know of any organizations in our area who are coordinating any kind of assistance program? Will you have additional dates in the near future for dropping off items?
    Thank you for your efforts,
    Robert and Ruth

  9. Stanley Holt /

    I’m in Los Angeles and would like to assist in any way that I can — translation, English instruction, whatever. Do you know of any organizations in the LA area that are looking for volunteers?

    Thank you.


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