The Bay Area is bracing for a potential influx of immigrants following the repeal of Title 42, as community groups like Amigos de Guadalupe witness the initial flow of people arriving and are now seeking help to support these new neighbors, according to NBC Bay Area.
Title 42, an emergency health authority originating from the Trump administration, allowed US officials to turn away migrants at the US-Mexico border on the grounds of preventing COVID-19 spread. This rule has been utilized more than 2.8 million times, and with the Biden administration ending national COVID-19 emergencies, Title 42 expired, leading to a surge in immigration along the southern border, as reported by CBS News San Francisco.
Amigos de Guadalupe, a community group in San Jose, has seen around 12 to 15 families seeking support since the end of Title 42, with limited resources to provide temporary housing, health, and other social services referrals, as mentioned in the NBC Bay Area article. They're not the only ones feeling the pressure either, with local schools like Escuela Popular asking the city, county, state, and federal government for assistance in supporting incoming students and their families.
San Jose Councilman Peter Ortiz backed these efforts, urging California Governor Gavin Newsom to secure federal funding for newly arriving families' stabilization, something that would help them transition smoothly into San Jose and Santa Clara County.
So how is San Jose planning on handling this influx of immigrant families?
The city's Office of Racial Equity is taking action with a Welcoming Migrant Response Plan designed to activate various departments to make the process of seeking asylum in the U.S. as welcoming and inclusive as possible.
Gina Guevara, a Venezuelan immigrant and leader within Amigos de Guadalupe, explained her identification with these arriving families: "I identify 100% with all these families who are immigrating, seeking a better life, opportunities, and security -- many things they do not have in their countries."
Zulma Maciel, Office of Racial Equity Director, outlined the plan, stating that it "will activate various departments to ensure our response is as welcoming, inclusive, and humane as possible for people seeking asylum in the U.S.." While specific details on the plan have yet to be provided, it intends to follow the work of organizations like Amigos de Guadalupe.
However, Amigos de Guadalupe isn't alone in this effort. Jeremy Barousse, Director of Policing Organizing at the organization, believes a robust ecosystem between the city of San Jose, Santa Clara County, and community-based organizations is essential to create a safety net for arriving families. Speaking to KPIX, Barousse emphasized the need for collaboration between these entities, pooling resources to uplift families during this transition period.
Leisar Garcia, an Escuela Popular student who arrived in the U.S. four years ago as an unaccompanied minor from Guatemala, reminds us of the human aspect behind this story. Having experienced a difficult journey himself, he sympathizes with the mass of immigrants arriving after the lifting of Title 42.
Garcia expresses his gratitude for the opportunities he's found in the U.S., stating, "This country is special. There is a lot of culture, people from different countries. We can learn from them, learn new things from them," as mentioned in the NBC Bay Area article.