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Advocacy Brief

People Seeking Asylum Confined Outside in Appalling Conditions: Findings and Recommendations from a Monitoring Visit to San Diego


In October 2023, the Women’s Refugee Commission’s (WRC) Migrant Rights and Justice program visited San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, to assess the conditions that people seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border face. We visited a migrant shelter and an encampment located between two border walls where migrants await apprehension, and volunteered to aid migrants and people seeking asylum following their release from immigration custody. We also met with local officials, nonprofit organization partners, and individuals seeking asylum. Based on what we learned, WRC compiled this report on our assessments and recommendations.

Summary Recommendations:

  1. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must process migrants, including people seeking asylum, in a humane and timely manner and eliminate its use of open-air detention sites to detain people prior to their processing in holding facilities.
  2. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should work with all levels of government to develop a comprehensive, sustainable response that effectively coordinates the processing and release of migrants and people seeking asylum in the San Diego region.
  3. Congress must significantly increase investment in local governments and nonprofit organizations providing short-term aid, as well as those that provide medium-term housing and services.
  4. The Biden administration should rescind its Circumvention of Lawful Pathways rule, also known as the asylum ban, expand asylum processing capacity at ports of entry, and ensure that US and Mexican officials are not limiting access to asylum.
Mexico United States North America Migrant Asylum Detention and Separation Rights and Justice Advocacy Brief