President Donald Trump’s travel ban is having quite an effect. In San Diego County, for instance, a jurisdiction that traditionally welcomed migrants with open arms, only 12 refugees arrived there in June — the lowest number in more than a decade.
San Diego County has a reputation for taking in the most number of refugees of any other county in California. Since 2009, the area’s been a virtual hub for new arrivals from Iraq.
But that trend, due to Trump’s travel ban, appears to be reversing.
Even the left-leaning San Diego Union-Tribune reports as much:
The June arrivals are from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Kenya.
The county’s arrivals have dropped significantly since President Donald Trump first signed an executive order in January that paused the U.S. resettlement program and reduced the number of refugees that the U.S. would accept per year by more than half, to 50,000 from 110,000.
As refugee advocates and the federal government fought in court over the legality of the order, which was rescinded and replaced in March, refugee arrivals stopped and sputtered, with increasingly small numbers getting flights to their intended new homes in the U.S.
That’s the opposite of the trend for previous years when summer months saw surges in refugee arrivals in the county, sometimes more than 700 in one month.
San Diego County was fifth in the state for arrivals in June, taking in fewer refugees than Los Angeles and three other counties.
Imperial Beach resident Ernie Griffes opposed his city’s designation as a welcoming city because he was concerned more refugees might settle there, and he supported Trump in part for his immigration platform.
Griffes worried that a large refugee family might move in on his street and he wouldn’t know who they were or whether they’d been vetted sufficiently. He called it “a big problem for quiet, little communities.”
Griffes said he’s glad that arrivals have slowed, as Trump promised they would.
“This is what is intended as the nation tries to digest culturally and financially the strains on neighborhoods and resources of non-citizens demanding services and support of all kinds that even citizens cannot get,” Griffes said via email. “This is a part of what the president was elected to do, and we’re pleased to see it happening.”
Robert Moser, Catholic Charities executive director, said the court battle over Trump’s order has created a constant uncertainty for refugees and resettlement agencies.
“You don’t know today what’s going to happen tomorrow because yesterday what you expected to happen didn’t,” Moser said over the phone. “It’s really, really hard to explain or convey what the impact is or will be other than the fact that the numbers have practically just stopped.”