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San Jose prepares to welcome surge of immigrant families after end of Title 42

San Jose gears up to welcome immigrant families
San Jose gears up to welcome immigrant families 03:31

SAN JOSE -- The city of San Jose is preparing to welcome a significant influx of immigrant families in the coming weeks as Title 42 expires, creating a surge in immigration along the United States' southern border. 

Title 42 is the name of an emergency health authority. It's a holdover from the Trump administration that began in March 2020. The authority allowed U.S. officials to turn away migrants who came to the U.S.-Mexico border on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Prior to Title 42, migrants could cross illegally, ask for asylum and be allowed into the U.S.. They were then screened and often released to wait out their immigration cases.

Under Title 42, migrants were returned back over the border and denied the right to seek asylum. U.S. officials turned away migrants more than 2.8 million times. Families and children traveling alone were exempt. But there were no real consequences when someone illegally crossed the border. So migrants were able to try again and again to cross, on the off chance that they would get into the U.S.

President Joe Biden initially kept Title 42 in place after he took office, then tried to end its use in 2022. Republicans sued, arguing that the restrictions were necessary border security. Courts had kept the rules in place. But the Biden administration announced in January that it was ending national COVID-19 emergencies, and so the border restrictions are now going away at midnight Thursday.

As many as 10 families per day could be arriving in the South Bay during this expected influx. San Jose officials are gearing up to provide resources and support for these newcomers. The city's Office of Racial Equity is planning a response to ensure that San Jose can be as welcoming and inclusive as possible for those seeking asylum in the U.S.

Gina Guevara, a Venezuelan immigrant who moved to the U.S. in 2017, is one of the leaders who will welcome these families to the Bay Area. 

Guevara is a member of Amigos de Guadalupe, an organization in East San Jose that has already been helping an increasing number of new arrivals. 

"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," said Guevara.

San Jose migrant preps
San Jose migrant preps. CBS

Other community leaders from Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose, like the Office of Racial Equity Director Zulma Maciel,  echoed this message. 

"The city is planning a Welcoming Migrant Response Plan that, if needed, will activate various departments to ensure our response is as welcoming, inclusive, and humane as possible for people seeking asylum in the U.S.," said Maciel.

Amigos de Guadalupe is currently helping two to three new families each day. The group says they have been stabilizing families by finding them temporary shelters, using their limited resources to get them hotel rooms, food, water, enrollment in medical coverage, and helping enroll children in school. 

Director of Policing Organizing at Amigos de Guadalupe Jeremy Barousse told KPIX they are ready to redouble their efforts to help these families. 

"There's gotta be a robust ecosystem between our county, the city of San Jose, and our community-based organizations working together to create a safety net for newly arrival families," said Barousse. "We could put together our resources and create a network to uplift these families during this time."

San Jose officials did not specify details about the plan but confirmed it would follow the work of organizations like Amigos de Guadalupe. 

Additional resources for immigrant families are available at the Office of Racial Equity website.

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