top of page
Eh Ber.jpg

From 2010-2015 around 2,700 refugees resettled in City Heights from over 45 different countries. The top countries represented are Somalia, Burma, Vietnam, Mexico, and Ethiopia.


Events in San Diego

Events in United States 

Global Events 

2010's Overview
Syrian Civil War

The still ongoing Syrian civil war begins. As of 2020, over 5.6 million civilians are refugees and 6.2 million displaced internally.



Refugee Admissions in
San Diego

San Diego County is ranked first among refugee admissions to California in the Federal Fiscal Year with 2,110 refugees. This is a 51% decrease from 2010, but a 110% increase from 2006.

Immigration Center for Women and Children


A non-profit legal organization originally established in Los Angeles, a San Diego office is opened, providing free and affordable immigration services to disadvantaged immigrants in California and Nevada.


City Heights Prep Charter School

Opened in City Heights with 2/3 of its population being refugees, the school gives refugees one hour of English instruction each day and return to their peers after. It also serves students even after they are 18 to obtain their diploma.

CVUSD Receives Refugee Impact Grant


Cajon Valley Unified School District receives a three-year Refugee School Impact Grant from the CA department of social services in hopes of seeing an increased school attendance by refugees.


SDUSD Receives Refugee School Impact Grant

San Diego Unified School District receives a three-year Refugee School Impact Grant from the CA department of social services in hopes of increasing mental health services to deal with trauma, interpreters to promote parent involvement, coordination/communication between schools and agencies, and additional tutoring.

City Heights Youth for Change


Targeted at refugee youth ages 14-26, this program was formed by Bantu women who came together under the “grant from the California Endowment as part of its Building Healthy Communities Initiative (BHC)” and as a part of a Global ARC project.It has worked to increase voter turnout in City Heights and helped organize the 2016 Youth Power Summit.


Interrupted Educations

At Crawford High School, 30% of the students were refugees with interrupted or no formal education in their home countries.

Iraq Civil War

The Iraqi insurgency escalated into a civil war until 2017. Over 3 million civilians were displaced within the country and 260,000 forced to seek refuge elsewhere.



Libyan Civil War

The Libyan civil war begins. Over 1 million civilians are forced to flee.

Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program 


Implemented by the Obama administration, this program helps expedite reunification of Haitian families displaced due to the Haitian earthquake of 2010


Burmese Refugees in the U.S.

According to the CDC from 2008-2014, approximately 109,000 Burmese refugees arrived in the United States from camps and urban settings in Thailand and Malaysia. Religious persecution forced them to flee. Texas received the largest refugee population with 14%. 

Yemeni Civil War

The Yemeni civil war begins. Today over 3.6 million civilians have been forced to flee their homes.



Parent/Student/ Resident Organization

Developed through the Global Action Research Center to help organize families with children attending public schools on the east side of City Heights, the organizations goal is to be engaged in shaping district plans and policies. Their efforts expanded to the west side of City Heights in 2018 through school board meetings and community forums, The result included changes such a serving halal meals for Muslim students, decreasing suspension rates, increasing interpretation services in the district, and expanding A-G language requirements to include all languages so students could pass using their native language.

California Leads in Refugee Resettlement 


Of 85,000 refugees admitted to the U.S. in 2016, the largest group: 7,908 settled in CA.


Federal Refugee Limit Increase 

President Obama increases the federal refugee limit to 110,000.

Marked Syrian Refugee Increase 

San Diego County receives 626 Syrian refugees between October 1st and September 1st, the highest number of Syrian resettlers across the United States.



International Center Program 

Started by the SDUSD to help English language learners stay in credit bearing classes, this program is in 5 high schools, 2 middle schools and provides an English Language Development Coach in the students’ general classes.

San Diego Refugee Forum 

Developed as a community of service providers that desire to help refugees and those who are seeking refuge in San Diego, this forum creates a place for service providers to freely share information and proactively collaborate with each other to provide more effective refugee services.



$37 Million in federal funds to CA

California receives $37 million in federal funds for refugee costs. The funds pay for initial housing costs and then provide cash aid for the refugees for about 90 days, until refugees must begin paying their own expenses.

Breakthrough English: High School Refugee Academy


Funded by the Title III federal funding, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District implements a month long summer immersion program for refugees as an introduction to education processes, to expand their English learning, and to build social skills. This program was free of cost and provided transportation, as well as lunch. The students showed to have an average half-year growth in their English and math abilities.


Exiled Voice: The Refugee Art Experience

Launched with SAY San Diego Crawford Community Connection and in partnership with Intrepid theatre company, this project paired refugee students with artists in the community to compose artwork based on their stories. A free public performance at the Horton Grand Theatre was held on March 6th, 2017.

UCSD: Refugee Health Unit 

The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine started the Refugee Health Unit as a way to collaborate with Ethnic Community Based Organizations in San Diego to provide refugee mental and financial health protections.



Refugee Arrival between 1975 - 2017

According to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, more than 3 million refugees in total have arrived in the U.S. between 1975 - 2017.

Summer Refugee Academy

In partnership with San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego, the International Rescue Committee in San Diego announces a four week Summer Refugee Academy for 20 Mann Middle School selected students to partake in community service, academic enrichment, civic service, and leadership activities.



California Newcomer Education and Well-Being Project 

This San Diego Unified School Districts program is a school-based initiative, authorized by assembly bill 99 and provides additional services for refugees and other eligible school-age students to enhance social and academic performance.

Canada Largest Refugee Resettlement


According to BBC news Canada resettled the largest number of refugees out of 25 countries in 2018. The country accepted just over 28,000 refugees with the United States coming in second with 22,900. The first time the U.S. did not lead the world on this measure since the adoption of the Refugee Act in 1980.


Displacement Record

According to the United Nations, the world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record with 70.8 million people around the world forced to flee by conflict and persecution at the end of 2018. Among them are nearly 30 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

Refugee School Impact Program

This program provided money to school districts to help refugees who came to San Diego five or fewer years ago to improve their academic performance. Cajon Valley Unified, SD receives $93,555 and San Diego Unified, SD receives $70,875.



Refugee By Alan Grantz

Teachers at the Cajon Valley Unified School District board meeting propose adding the book Refugee by Alan Grantz to the 8th grade core literature list. This book centers around three main characters who are from Nazi Germany, 1990 Cuba, and Syria.

Federal Refugee Limit Reduced 


President Trump reduces American refugee limit from 30,000 to 18,000 for the next 12 months.


85% Refugee Resettlement Increase in San Diego

Due in part to the rise of violence, conflicts between different groups, and political conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, San Diego county sees an 85% increase in refugee resettlement, despite only a 10% increase state-wide. Syria and Iraq also send the largest amount of refugees to San Diego despite marked decrease due to increased Trump era screenings.

Multilingual Education and Global Achievement Network


Established with the goal of supporting the needs of English learners, immigrants/refugees, dual-language learners, world language learners, and newcomer students in their districts and schools by educating attendees about topics related to English Language Learners.


Chula Vista Certified as a “Welcoming City”

The first city in the state to be certified a “welcoming” city by Welcoming America for supporting immigrants. In 2016, Chula Vista was made up of more than 30% immigrants.

“Power Up” After-school program

Cajon Valley Unified School District offers this program as a part of the Refugee School Impact Grant at five elementary schools and one middle school for the 2019-2020 school year. This program is for refugee students from 2nd-8th grade, offering tutoring, homework help, English development (for children and parents), and help for adults to understand school systems to better support their students’ futures and careers.


bottom of page