California disputes San Diego County's claim that migrant 'tent city' is coming

CBP encountered more than 172K migrants in March

Texas Congressman Troy Nehls on Customs and Border Protection’s handling of the migrant surge.

EXCLUSIVE: San Diego County is looking for land on which California state officials can build a purported “tent city” for migrants coming across the border on a long-term basis, according to an email seen by Fox News – but the State of California is disputing that description.

The email, sent to farmers by the County of San Diego’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures, says the state is looking for agricultural land for a project that would include services for migrants coming into the country.

“The Calif. Department of Food & Agriculture is working with California Office of Emergency Services on finding and renting/leasing on a long-term basis any private, fallowed ag[ricultural] land to build a tent city in the county for the immigrants coming across the border,” the email, seen by Fox News, says. “The State plans to provide wrap-around services as well.”

The email requests responses to the San Diego department by May 14. A spokesperson for San Diego County referred Fox News to state agencies, saying that the County Department of Agriculture Weights & Measures (AWM) “was only recently asked to reach out to growers about available land.”

“AWM was asked to inquire about available unused ag land for the purpose of a tent city for the immigrants coming across the border,” the spokesperson told Fox News.

However, the California Office of Emergency Services, in a statement to Fox News, said there are no plans for a “tent city,” although the office does support “intake hubs” for migrants coming across the border.

“The state is actively coordinating with federal immigration officials, as well as local non-profit, community-based organizations, to protect the health and well-being of migrants and our border communities alike. There are no plans from the state to create a tent city,” a spokesperson told Fox News in an email.

“Our work includes supporting intake hubs, which will serve as triage sites for migrant adults and families after they are released from federal custody. These sites will provide basic wraparound services including COVID-19 testing, medical screenings, and the coordination of transportation,” the spokesperson said.

Former San Diego city council member Carl DeMaio described the purported plan, as described by San Diego County in the email, as “outrageous.”

“It is dangerous and it should be immediately rejected, and this is coming on a pattern of catering to illegal immigrants at the expense of US taxpayers here in San Diego,” DeMaio, a radio host and current chairman of Reform California, told Fox News.

Meanwhile, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond said he was “working with county staff to make sure this DOES NOT become a reality.”

“While the Federal Government needs a solution to the immigrants coming across the border. Putting ‘tent cities’ on agricultural land is not the solution,” he tweeted.

It wouldn’t be the first major migrant influx into San Diego. In March, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that 1,400 child migrants would be housed in the San Diego Convention Center as part of the response to the migrant surge at the southern border.

Additionally, San Diego politicians have mulled a $5 million legal defense fund for illegal immigrants facing deportation.

Officials encountered more than 172,000 migrants in March, including a record number of unaccompanied children — and figures for April are expected to show similar numbers of migrants.

HHS has opened a number of new facilities in response to the crisis, as the numbers in custody have surged from around 11,000 at the end of March to more than 22,000 at the beginning of May.

The Biden administration has touted how it has cleared out Border Patrol facilities, such as the one at Donna, Texas — but most of those child migrants have been transferred to HHS. Neither HHS nor the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immediately responded to Fox News’ requests for comment about their potential involvement in the San Diego project.

DeMaio said he believed that any plan for a “tent city” would face significant opposition from the public.

“I think that not only will there be, if they go through with this proposal, a huge public backlash, but I anticipate it will become a major political issue and be litigated in the courts,” he added.

Source: Read Full Article