Southern California shelters are bracing for a surge in migrants following the end of Title 42 on Thursday night.
Title 42 is the pandemic-era public health order that was put in place in March 2020 that restricted migrants from claiming asylum at the border in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus between countries. The order will expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
Local officials are concerned that resources for helping migrants will be stressed to their limits. The Galilee Center in Riverside County is preparing to help the influx of migrants with food, shelter and other basic needs.
Many migrants traveling through the eastern Riverside County area hail from a variety of locations including Somalia, Ecuador, Peru and more.
When they arrive at The Galilee Center in Mecca or Coachella, they can access shower and laundry facilities, a bed to sleep in, and health necessities such as toiletries, diapers and more.
With a long, uncertain journey, Diana Yadira, a migrant staying at The Galilee Center, is sharing her story as she embarks on the journey alone. She’s escaping violence from her native country in pursuit of a better life in the U.S.
Yadira, who is traveling from Ecuador, said the biggest challenge was leaving her three sons behind. She left in December 2022 and made the trek to Tijuana, Mexico. She was a business owner and said the violence in her hometown became too much to handle when criminals threatened to kidnap and kill her. She said she no longer felt safe at home.
Now, Yadira is seeking asylum in the U.S. and keeps in contact with her sons as much as possible. She says everything she is sacrificing right now is all for her sons.
“We’re doing this because it’s humans helping each other and giving a helping hand,” said Claudia Castorena, Co-Founder of The Galilee Center.
Castorena said last year they received roughly 33,000 people moving through the shelter, accessing the comforts of home on a temporary stop to their final destination.
Now with the expiration of Title 42, which allowed the U.S. government to turn away migrants, including asylum-seekers, at the border, an influx of people is expected.
“Last year alone, we received 33,000 people,” said Castorena. “Right now last month, there was a little over 2,000 people we received. This month of May, we’re expecting to receive more than 3,500.”
Castorena said, despite the large numbers of people they serve, they are fully prepared to handle the amount coming their way, with a goal of making migrants’ journeys a little less stressful.
Anyone interested in donating to The Galilee Center or learning more about their services can find that information on their website.