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San Diego migrant center to close after influx of asylum-seekers drain funds: 'Serious problem'

El Cajon, Calif. Mayor Bill Wells warned of the impact on his community Thursday as nearly 140,000 migrants have crossed into the San Diego sector since Oct. 1.

A San Diego migrant center announced it will be forced to close its doors Thursday after running out of funds to assist the overwhelming number of asylum-seekers who have illegally crossed into the county.

The mayor of nearby El Cajon, Calif., told Fox News Thursday that he fears the welcome center's closure will quickly become a "serious problem" for his community.

"Over the past few months, we've seen 100,000 migrants come across the San Diego border," Mayor Bill Wells told "Fox & Friends First." 

"A lot of those have been absorbed by this county shelter that used taxpayer money. They asked for $3 million and they spent over $6 million and now they say they're out of money. So we're going to see migrants congregating in our streets."

"I think it's going to become a pretty serious problem pretty quickly."


The center, which claims to be handling up to 800 migrants a day, has been sending buses to county Border Patrol stations to pick up migrants, bring them back to the site and provide services to prepare them for the journey to their final destination.

"As the number of migrants arriving at the center has increased significantly over the last few weeks, our finite resources have been stretched to the limit," SBCS CEO Kathie Lembo said in a statement.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by Fox News reveals that nearly 140,000 illegal immigrants in total have crossed into the San Diego sector since Fiscal Year 2024 began on October 1st.

"The Border Patrol tells us we're going to go from about 300 drop-offs a day to maybe a thousand drop-offs a day," Wells said Thursday.


When asked by co-host Todd Piro where the migrants are going to go without the center, Wells said hotels could become an unwelcome solution that compounds the state's existing homeless problem.

"They spent up to $8,000 per person per month to put somebody up in a hotel, and they seem to have no problem spending that kind of money. It ruins the neighborhoods, it destroys the hotels, it destroys our security infrastructure. And it's really bad for everybody," he said. 

Among the 140,000 illegal immigrants encountered in San Diego have been thousands of "special interest aliens," classified as those who come from countries with potential national security concerns. 

Fox News' Bill Melugin reported Friday that 21,000 Chinese nationals have been apprehended in the San Diego Sector since Oct. 1, according to CBP sources. The number is second only to Colombian nationals and shockingly eclipsed the number of Mexican nationals.

Wells, who recently visited the border, described witnessing an encampment of around 150 male Chinese migrants.

"I think that's a real serious concern. China is not neutral with us. They're somewhat of an enemy, at least in a Cold War at this point. And it makes me nervous to see enemies of our nation congregating right in our city," he said.

Nearly 7.3 million migrants have illegally crossed the southwest border under President Biden's watch, a number greater than the population of 36 individual states, a Fox News analysis finds.

That figure comes from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has already reported 961,537 border encounters in the current fiscal year, which runs from October through September. If the current pace of illegal immigration does not slow down, fiscal year 2024 will break last year's record of 2,475,669 southwest border encounters — a number that by itself exceeds the population of New Mexico, a border state. 

The total number of southwest land border encounters since Biden assumed office in 2021 is 7,298,486, CBP data shows. 

Fox News' Chris Pandolfo, Bradford Betz, Adam Shaw, Bill Melugin and Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.

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