The Biden administration is giving California $45 million to help recently arrived migrants

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Los Angeles Times)

The Biden administration is giving California $45 million to help recently arrived migrants

Immigration and the border

Andrea Castillo

April 15, 2024

The Biden administration is allocating $45 million to programs in California that help migrants who have crossed the southern border.

The money is part of a $300 million national effort announced Friday

by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Most of the funding in California will be split between San Diego County and the Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego. More than $6 million will go to Riverside County.

Another $341 million will be used to establish a competitive grant program and will be allocated before the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, the administration said.

Programs that help migrants are being funded less than they had hoped, representing an 18% cut from last year’s total of $780 million.

But California’s total share is $3 million higher than last year; San Diego’s allocation increased by $10 million.

Nonprofits at the border, including Jewish Family Service of San Diego, are hailing the surge as a victory that mirrors the recent surge in migrants near the California border.

In an announcement Friday, the Department of Homeland Security called on Congress to pass a stalled bipartisan national security bill that would include more border funding and other aid.

California Governor Gavin Newsom praised the administration and accused House Republicans of failing to provide enough money to deal with the crisis.

Let’s be clear: President Biden is doing everything he can to fund border security and humanitarian efforts, while Republicans in Congress are choosing border chaos for political gain,” Newsom said in a statement.

Republicans blame Biden for mishandling the border

and argue for it

FEMA resources should be spent on American families struggling with homelessness, not on arriving migrants.

Interior states including Illinois, Colorado and New York also received funding. The leaders of Texas, Florida and Arizona have spent millions since 2022 transporting migrants to Democratic strongholds in an effort to force places with more welcoming immigration policies to share responsibility for caring for recent arrivals.

California has funded humanitarian services for migrants released from federal custody at the border, including $150 million last year. But,

with the state

faced with a huge deficit, no border funding has been budgeted this year.

“California cannot continue its efforts without federal support and has continued to advocate to Congress for federal funding to local communities receiving newcomers,” California Health and Human Services Agency officials wrote in their January budget summary.

Jewish Family Service has operated a shelter for recently arrived migrants for almost six years. The vast majority of migrants arriving in the San Diego area do not stay long-term, said Kate Clark, the organization’s director of immigration services. The reception center can accommodate approximately 1,000 people and accommodates the most vulnerable migrants and those with young children


or who are


sick or injured

or being LGBTQ

time to rest, charge their phones, call loved ones and coordinate travel plans.

Clark said the organization relies heavily on funding through Catholic Charities.

State funding, which has served as a crucial safety net during periods of uncertainty about federal funding, will expire June 30, Clark said. Overall, the funding has not been enough to maintain recent migration levels, she said.

In March, federal agents arrested nearly 34,000 migrants in the San Diego region, up from 23,000 a year ago, according to Customs and Border Protection figures released Friday. San Diego remains number one. 2 region for arrivals, afterwards

Tuscon Tucson

as increased enforcement by the Mexican government led to migrants moving away from the Texas border.

As the number of migrants at the California-Mexico border has increased, Customs and Border Protection has turned to street releases and detained migrants between border walls to reduce the number of people in the short-term facilities. Organizations at the border have struggled, and the migrant shelter in San Diego closed in February after being funded

died dried


It is important to us that all levels of government are part of the solution, Clark said. Immigration is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, but ultimately California is a border state.


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