No one stands alone
in our community

Know Your Rights Presentations & Friend of the Court Assistance

The federal government's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, commonly referred to as "Remain in Mexico") forces asylum seekers to return to and remain in Mexico to await their U.S. court dates, depriving them of resources and assistance in the U.S., including legal aid. Of more than 38,000 asylum seekers enrolled in MPP, only about 1% have legal representation. Jewish Family Service of San Diego, which leads the legal services for and is a core partner of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, requested the ability to provide "Know Your Rights" presentations and "Friend of the Court" assistance, in which an attorney informally guides an individual during their hearing, at San Diego Immigration Court. In June 2019, the Department of Justice denied the request.
Because of this denial, and now that all local immigration court cases have been postponed from the docket except for MPP, JFS and San Diego immigration attorneys joined together to advocate for these critical services. The San Diego Union-Tribune explains what happened on Day 1.

Read The Union Tribune Article >>

Read Our Statement >>

UCSD Study Uncovers Systematic Abuses of Asylum-Seeking Families in Immigration Detention Facilities

The U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at UC San Diego independently analyzed intake data from more than 17,000 asylum-seekers we assisted at our Migrant Family Shelter. Most of these families were held in federal detention facilities before arriving at the shelter. The USIPC uncovered a trend of substandard living conditions, physical and verbal abuse, and inaccurate legal information at these facilities. Read the full report here and the Los Angeles Times article by USIPC director Tom K. Wong here.

The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN) is a coalition of human rights and service organizations, attorneys, and community leaders dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families in the San Diego border region.

San Diego is the largest land border crossing in the world and has been a highly active location for deportations, rights violations, and abuse by Customs Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The SDRRN was activated to respond to increased immigration enforcement activities within San Diego County and humanitarian issues arising at the border, including widespread family separation and unjust deportation of asylum seekers presenting at the Port-of-Entry.

To view the Core Partners, Legal Partners, and Participating Organizations, please click here.

We Need Your Support

Families are arriving in our community in desperate need of our help. They have traveled hundreds, if not thousands of miles to flee violence, suffering, and persecution in their homelands in search of a safer, better life.

Immigration authorities are releasing these families after being vetted by Homeland Security in San Diego and giving them the right to live in the U.S. while they await the outcome of their application for asylum. Learn more in our Newsroom.

Your Support is Vital to Running the Migrant Family Shelter

A migrant shelter was started in late October 2018 to provide meals, medical care, legal services, and travel aid to 200 individuals; nearly 50-60 families a day. Funds are needed for the shelter to maintain its daily operation and provide basic necessities, such as food, blankets and bedding, portable showers, baby/children needs, and toiletries. The funding will also help SDRRN provide free legal representation for these families and fund bond fees.

Donate Needed Items

All shelter guests – babies, infants, children, and adults – discard their old clothes for health and hygiene reasons and are provided with new underwear, clean clothes, and shoes. Before they leave to reconnect with loved ones, asylum-seeking families are provided with additional clothes for what is often a multi-day bus ride.

You can donate these needed items through our Amazon wishlist, which will help families begin their journey in the United States.

In The News


Volunteer Lawyers Help Asylum-Seekers Sent Back to Mexico to ‘Know Their Rights’
October 4, 2019

A group of lawyers headed by the JFS immigration team have organized Know Your Rights presentations for asylum-seekers in San Diego. Over three days, 100 individuals received vital legal information to assist them in their asylum cases.

Click here to read the KPBS article

Jewish Family Service of San Diego Statement RE: Migrant Protection Protocols Week of Action
October 2, 2019

JFS starts Know Your Rights Presentations and Seeks to Add Friends of the Court.

Click here to read the press release

San Diego Union Tribune

San Diego County Refugee Arrivals Hit Eight-Month Low
September 18, 2019

The new cap on refugee resettlements has drastically affected the number of people arriving in San Diego. Our Director of Refugee Services, Etleva Bejko, explains the changing demographics of the refugees who are still allowed to enter the U.S.

Click here to read the San Diego Union-Tribune story

LA Times

Asylum Seekers in San Diego Faced Dangerous Care Delays
September 17, 2019

This two-part series details the poor medical care asylum-seekers receive while in ICE custody and highlights how humanitarian organizations, such as the San Diego Rapid Response Network, often have to treat migrants with severe health issues.

Click here to read the story from MedPage Today

LA Times

Every Aspect of America’s Asylum System Now Seems Broken
September 4, 2019

Tom K. Wong, director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at UCSD, highlights the abuses asylum-seeking families experience in federal immigration detention facilities. Wong and his team independently analyzed data from 17,000+ asylum-seekers who came through our Migrant Family Shelter and uncovered a trend of substandard living conditions, physical and verbal abuse, and inaccurate legal information at these facilities.

Click here to read the story from the LA Times

UCSD Study Uncovers Systematic Abuses of Asylum-Seeking Families in Immigration Detention Facilities
September 4, 2019

“These findings raise serious due process concerns,” said Kate Clark, JFS Senior Director of Immigration Services. “If asylum-seeking families are not being given vital instructions about their immigration proceedings in a language they can read or understand, how can we expect them to navigate an already complex legal process that is increasingly stacked against them?”

Media Coverage:

AP Story  |  New York Times  |  Business Insider  |  KPBS  |  NBC  |  ABC 10 News  |  Telemundo 20  |  Times of San Diego  |  Voice of San Diego  |  The San Diego Union-Tribune



Family of US Citizen Crosses Border to Claim Asylum
August 22, 2019

After four months in Tijuana, the wife and children of a US citizen were allowed to continue their asylum case in the US. They stayed in our Migrant Family Shelter before reconnecting with family and preparing for immigration court.

Click here to read the story from CBS 8

The Jewish News of Northern California

Jewish and Latino State Lawmakers Visit San Diego Migrant Family Shelter
August 12, 2019

Members of the Jewish and Latino legislative caucuses toured our Migrant Family Shelter and an ICE detention center to get a first-hand look at the difficult journey asylum-seekers face.

Click here to read the story from The Jewish News of Northern California

Click here for past stories

Call Our 24-Hour Immigration Enforcement Hotline to Report:


(619) 536-0823

Together, we can ensure that no one stands alone in our community.

Individuals seized by CBP and ICE have few resources to defend themselves. The SDRRN stands ready to respond to the needs of vulnerable immigrants and their families – advocating for their safety, providing emergency assistance, and coordinating free and low-cost legal representation to defend against family separation and unjust deportation.

Volunteer Opportunities: For volunteer opportunities with the San Diego Rapid Response Network, please contact the Network Coordinator at
For volunteer opportunities specifically with the shelter, email
Note: These email addresses are not for media queries. Members of the media should contact

Please make a donation to help us carry out this vital work - 100% of your donation goes directly to the SDRRN.

Contact Us

Hotline: If you or someone you know is experiencing an immigration emergency (raid, arrest, checkpoint, and/or harassment) please call the 24-hour emergency hotline at (619) 536-0823.

Immigration Pro-Bono Legal Assistance: For non-emergency immigration legal assistance inquiries, please call (858) 637-3365. This line is staffed by the legal team at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, a core partner of the San Diego Rapid Response Network.

Media Inquiries:

Core Partners

Legal Partners

Participating Organizations (Partial List)

  • 2-1-1 San Diego
  • ABA Immigration Justice Project
  • American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties
  • ACCE
  • AFT – Immigration Committee City College
  • California Western Community Law Project
  • Casa Cornelia Law Center
  • Casa Familiar
  • Catholic Charities of San Diego
  • CSA San Diego County
  • Center of Community Solutions
  • Employee Rights Center (ERC)
  • Legal Aid Society of San Diego
  • MAAC Project
  • North County Immigration Task Force
  • Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE)
  • Price Philanthropies
  • San Diego City College
  • San Diego Unified School District
  • San Diego Organizing Project
  • SEIU Local 221
  • SEIU USWW - San Diego
  • South Bay Community Services
  • Vista Community Clinic

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