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Migration Ministry

How To Help | Definitions | News | 2020 Summit | Partners

The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego (EDSD) is committed to providing support and assistance to those on the margins, including migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Through a variety of programs and initiatives, EDSD works to ensure that these vulnerable populations have access to resources and services that can help them rebuild their lives and thrive in their new communities. EDSD wants to help with legal assistance, housing, food, clothing, and other necessities. The Diocese is partners with local organizations that help provide education and job training, food and housing, and spiritual care to migrants–helping people integrate into society and become self-sufficient. Through these efforts, we’re dedicated to welcoming and supporting those in need, living out the values of compassion and love that are at the heart of our faith.


How Can I Help?

Through the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego and its partners, you have an opportunity to help real people in real positions of desperation. With the shuttering of the welcome center in San Diego, Customs and Border Protection are daily dropping off hundreds of asylum seekers at transit centers in the city. Starting Monday, March 11, EDSD’s Border Ministry will be preparing sack lunches every Monday at our diocesan offices from 3:00 to 5:00 pm for migrants who are overnighting at the San Diego Airport waiting for flights.

For you that may have the extra availability, we also need volunteers to guide migrants at the Iris Transit Station in San Ysidro and at the Old Town Transit Station in order to guide migrants to airport shuttles.

If you would like to donate, supply material, or donate funds for the purchase of materials see each tab below.

If you have questions, please contact Border Missioner Robert Vivar at rvivar@edsd.org.

Last Update 03/05/2024




An Immigrant is an individual who willingly leaves their country of origin and legally enters another country where they are granted permission to permanently resettle. Their reasons for wanting to resettle can vary from a longing for economic prosperity or a better education to the fulfillment of a dream for reunion with family.

Asylum Seeker

An asylum seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country but who hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim.


A migrant is a broad term that applies to an individual who willingly leaves home and moves from one place to another. There is no internationally accepted legal definition of a migrant. Many understand migrants to be people staying outside their country of origin who are not asylum seekers or refugees.


Someone who has “been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence.” The U.S. government further defines a refugee as someone who may “face persecution based on religion, political opinion, race, nationality or membership in a particular social group.”  Those who obtain refugee status are given protections under international laws and conventions and lifesaving support from aid agencies.

One common thread between these groups is that they face circumstances where leaving the place of their birth was the better option than remaining home.

Sources: calmatters.org, amnesty.org, and preemptivelove.org.

Stay informed with the EDSD News!

The Border Ministry Summit 2020

In 2020, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego hosted the Border Ministry Summit for the Episcopal Church. Below is Bishop Susan Brown Snook’s sermon that opened the summit.

Read the joint statement from the bishops’ participating in the Border Ministry Summit 2020 here.



We encourage your support of organizations that offer specific kinds of aid to migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers:

Al Otro Lado: Provides direct, free, legal services on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

Immigrant Defenders Law Center: Provides legal support to unaccompanied children, asylum seekers, detained community members, and deported veterans.

Jewish Family Services: Provides food, transportation, health services, case management, legal services to migrants.

Refugee Net: Provides refugee families with academic support to kids, weekly food distribution, case management and job development services.

Via International: Provides leadership development to migrants and asylum seekers to promote sustainable development in under-resourced communities.

Vida Joven: Provides life-changing care for orphaned children in Baja.

Welcome Ministry: Provides ESL, laundry service, and food distribution to immigrant, refugees and unsheltered of the East County.

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