Immigrant rights advocates met with Democratic Senator Alex Padilla at a short-term migrant facility Wednesday to give him a sense of what's happening on the ground at the U.S.-Mexico border.
They're applauding the end of the so-called Remain in Mexico policy, but say migrants are still in danger because they're not being processed fast enough.
We've seen and heard about the dangers asylum seekers face at encampments along the border, but Cameroonian migrant and recent law school grad Daniel Tse lived it.
“There is so much insecurity and danger, people losing their lives every single week," said the migrant who’s used his newfound safety to co-found The Cameroon Advocacy Network.
U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat from California, was front and center Wednesday afternoon for a conversation with nonprofits and immigration advocacy organizations at Jewish Family Service of San Diego's Rapid Response migrant shelter, listening to understand how to better support the organizations’ missions.
Some of the concerns voiced include the need for more mid and long-term shelter housing nationwide, as well as the residual effects of Title 42, which closed the U.S. Border to asylum seekers, citing public health risks.
They also noted the need to expedite processing for people who remain in the Migrant Protection Protocol, better known as the Remain in Mexico policy, though it ended earlier this month.
"We want to create a pathway for people to get protection, and for immigration detentions to not be mandatory for people who've quite literally barely survived and arrived," said Guerline Jozef, President of the Haitian Bridge Alliance.
"Seeking asylum is a right people have, and having a viable pathway to the asylum system insures fewer people are forced into impossible decisions that could put their lives and their children at risk," explained Monika Langarica of the UCLA Center for Immigration Law & Policy.
Though hundreds of Ukrainians a day were processed for asylum when they started showing up at the border after fleeing their war-torn country, Jewish Family Service says only a handful of the thousands of people from other countries enrolled in the Remain In Mexico policy have been processed and allowed to enter the United States.
"We continue to not just pursue legislation and appropriations and budget requests through Congress, but we’re appealing to the Biden Administration to do what they can through executive authorities,” said Senator Padilla.
A stroke of a pen that immigration rights advocates, as well as Tse, who survived the camps, argue could save lives.
“People are looking for safety, life,“ said Tse.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a previous statement that, “Individuals currently in MPP in Mexico will be disenrolled when they return for their next scheduled court date.”
NBC 7 reached out to them after hours to find out if anything is being done to expedite processing and is still waiting to hear back.