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County of Riverside Mobilizes Team to Help 15 Asylum Seekers

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Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
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Riverside County mobilized a team to assist a group of asylum seekers who arrived in Blythe Wednesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez who had the chance to meet the individuals before they were transported to the Coachella Valley.

The group of 15 was made up of five families with minors ranging from age five to 16-years-old that had had traveled from as far away as Cuba and Venezuela. Supervisor Perez said he felt both heartbreak and hope when met the individuals at the Blythe Border Patrol station.

“I started talking to them and letting them know not to be afraid that we’re here to service them, to help them, that they are safe with the County of Riverside," said Perez. "And when I mentioned to them the idea of them achieving the American dream that they are going to have to work hard but they can achieve it, the adults all began to cry."

Perez said the county received a 12-hour warning that the group would be arriving Wednesday. Immediately an experienced team of county staff, nonprofits and faith-based organizations sprang into action.

Perez reports that all of the families are now safe in Coachella Valley shelters where they were provided COVID-testing, food, and clothing while arrangements are made to give them safe travel to sponsors and family members across the country.

“I’m very proud of my county’s team and staff because we mobilized knowing this is a humanitarian effort. Knowing that this is an emergency,” said Perez.

The county has become as experienced safety net for asylum seekers. In 2019, they assisted 2,800 migrants and families of asylum seekers traveling through the country.