On a typical day, workers at the Galilee Center in Riverside County meet about 150 immigrants who are in need of clothing, food, and shelter for a night or two.
Leaders at the nonprofit center say that’s about to change as the health statute expires called Topic 42.
“We’re making sure we have enough food and clothing for everyone… because we know this number is going to grow,” said co-founder Gloria Gomez. “We’re trying to get more stuff.”
On Thursday, the immigration policy enacted by the Trump administration during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent asylum seekers from leaving the United States expired.
The decades-old novel interpretation of Title 42 has resulted in the deportation of millions of migrants since it was introduced in March 2020. The policy has been criticized by some lawmakers. cited, including then-California Senator Kamala Harris, who called it “power”. take” and an attempt to limit immigration.
Now that this policy has expired, organizations that provide services to immigrants — such as shelter, food or legal aid — are preparing for impact.
They expect more people, many of whom have been subject to Title 42 bounces, to enter the country in the coming weeks. That could mean a renewed need for services and resources that many consider overwhelming.
At the Galilee Center, in an unincorporated area in Riverside County, Gomez said the organization is struggling to keep the roughly two passenger buses a day coming from other hubs near the border that are already at full capacity. .
On Friday, Gomez said its 40 workers at four shelters haven’t seen the impact of ending Title 42 but they have exhausted their supply.
“We are prepared,” Gomez said, but more is always needed. “We are running out of sweatpants and underwear.”
Most migrants stay for 24 to 48 hours until they can meet a sponsor or relative.
In the Inland Empire, the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, an organization of about 35 groups that provide services to immigrants in the region, is planning to hold an emergency meeting this week to assess the possible impacts. may occur at the end of Title 42 for services, including temporary services. The spokesman said: housing, food, clothing and legal aid.
Angelica Salas, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Coalition for Immigrant Human Rights, said other aid groups in the state are also expecting increased demand, but many have already built up bases. infrastructure and partnering with local organizations to address fluctuations in immigration.
“Our hope is that we can try to scale up our efforts so that we can help people in our way,” she said. “Yes, we are looking at expansion, but there is a platform to work on.”
Despite the expected increase, Salas said groups like hers have struggled to end Title 42.
“We will be ready to take on more people, just like we have been challenged before,” she said.
Cambria Tortorelli, executive director of the Los Angeles International Institute, which provides legal services to asylum seekers, primarily works with refugees who have applied from their home countries and entered lawfully into the United States. The organization also works with a number of immigrants from Afghanistan who entered the country from the southern border.
Tortorelli said the organization is already staffing for the expected increased workload, a workload that is likely to put a strain on organizations across the state.
“There aren’t enough professional, nonprofit services for people who need them,” she said.
The San Bernardino Community Service Center, which provides legal aid to immigrants and asylum seekers, has decided to change its strategy to help immigrants navigate the confusing Title 42 asylum application process. end.
“We went beyond our means,” said Emilio Amaya, executive director of the nonprofit. “We won’t have the resources to help those who need it.”
He said the center can usually handle about 25 cases at a time and has now handled twice as many.
“The reality is that there aren’t enough private lawyers and even if there were, people wouldn’t have the money to hire them,” Amaya said.
To help handle the larger workload, he said, the center will host educational workshops to help people file the initial paperwork and proceed with their legal proceedings.
Many migrants lose their lawsuits simply because they don’t show up, but at least the conferences can start.
“The idea is that they at least have the information to start their case. In the meantime, they may be allowed to work and have enough resources to be able to hire their own attorney,” Amaya said. “It won’t be the same, but it can help.”