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Imperial County

Aid for asylum seekers puts strain on a local non-profit organization

Sure Helpline Crisis Center says they need funding to pay their vendors - News 11's Arlette Yousif Reports

IMPERIAL COUNTY, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - Sure Helpline Crisis Center in Imperial Valley says it has helped at least 500 asylum seekers over the last three weeks only to be shunned away by California state officials.

Transportation and daily meals were being provided through the crisis center.

"The person we hired for the food arrived with the food and then another company arrived that they hired. Ok. They never contacted us and said we don’t want your food, this is what we’re gonna do," says Sure Helpline Crisis Center Executive Director Margaret Sauza.

SHCC has yet to hear from state officials about the possibility of getting paid for the work they and other vendors have done.

News 11's Arlette Yousif has a livestream report from the source of the problems:

"It’s totally disrespectful and for the state to act in such a manner towards us, a smaller community of, of— who is always neglected with funding and such. To be a bully and just push us out without any explanation at all," says Sure Helpline Crisis Center Programs Manager Gilbert Grijalva.

Sauza says originally Imperial County officials contacted SHCC for help with these asylum seekers and everything was fine at the time. But things changed once the state took over.

"I have bills for the bus driver’s that were taking the people to LAX. I had people here taking me to Yuma or San Diego. So that’s how we got involved. We were doing the intake over there," says Sauza.

According to Sauza, many of the asylum seekers were transported to the Ramada Hotel in Holtville. She says about 80 percent of the individuals they transported are Brazilian and the other 20 percent are a mixture of other nationalities.

As Seen on TV / Immigration / Local News / Top Stories
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Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

You can reach out to Arlette for at


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