News & Updates

Community Partner: San Diego Rescue Mission

For more than 60 years, the San Diego Rescue Mission has responded to the needs of those experiencing homelessness by offering a compassionate and holistic approach to rehabilitation and recovery. Today, we are helping lead the way in San Diego’s efforts to decrease homelessness by transforming the lives of men, women and children in need.

The San Diego Rescue Mission provides essential services like food, shelter and clothing but also works to thoughtfully address the issues of the heart and mind so that our clients can discover a new way of life.

We provide the critical first step for those seeking support and then provide the resources that individuals need achieve a healthy, independent life.  A few of our key offerings include:
• A Year-Long Residential, Rehabilitation Program for up to 350 men and women
• A Multi-Phased Transitional Housing Program
• An Emergency Shelter for women and children in crisis
• A 28-bed Recuperative Care Unit for homeless, medically-assisted men and women
• A Food Recovery program that collects 3,000,000 pounds of food a year
• A Licensed Preschool and Children’s Center that provides early childhood education and family resources

Through these programs, our goal is to see our clients encounter God, experience recovery, engage in education and job placement, find housing, and connect to a healthy support network. We believe that through these achievements our clients can re-enter their neighborhoods with the life skills and resources they need to be active and independent community members.

We believe that the issue of homelessness is not just a government problem to fix, but a community issue to solve, so we are faithfully working to engage local San Diegans in how they can help.

This year, to bring community awareness and support to the issue of homelessness, the San Diego Rescue Mission will be hosting its 11th Annual Sleepless San Diego Event on October 13th and 14th at Liberty Station – an opportunity for youth and their families to volunteer, serve, learn and celebrate the impact they can make in the lives of others. For more information, please contact Michael Babida at 619-819-1851.

Name: Michael Babida

Tile: Director of Donor Development & Corporate Partnership

Website URL:

Contact Information: or 619-819-1851


Member Spotlight: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School’s San Diego Campus expands our unique offering of programs into one of the most diverse cities in the nation—providing greater prospects for those who are interested in working in diverse urban environments.

Under the guidance of faculty with years of practical experience in their respective fields, students learn to apply theory in real-world situations through engaging with local communities. This allows students to begin impacting lives while they pursue their degree.

Explore our San Diego Campus areas of study:

Develop a global perspective

Recognized as one of the nation’s leading universities dedicated to psychology and related health sciences, The Chicago School has developed programs that are built to prepare graduates to face the challenges of a global society. With numerous international and study abroad programs, our graduates are able to apply a global worldview to a variety of fields.

Our partnerships. Your advantage.

Our community engagement model has resulted in partnerships with more than 500 nonprofit agencies across the country and our commitment to community service yields more than 1 million service hours annually. This enables us to provide students with easier access to practicum placement in their communities that can help them finish their degree.

Take the next step

If you are interested in The Chicago School’s San Diego campus or would like to learn more information, visit us at or apply online today!

Michael Grattan
Campus Director
401 W. A Street at 1 Columbia Place
San Diego, CA 92101

Real Estate Business Summit Baja California

The first annual Real Estate Business Summit in Baja California will take place June 21st and 22nd at Hotel Real Inn in Tijuana. This event welcomes developers, investors, builders and other stakeholders interested in property development opportunities in the region. This year, the summit will focus on the impact of the hotel industry, new residential or residential/commercial complexes, and how these are bolstering investment in Baja California.

Featured speakers include:

  • Oscar Escobedo, Secretary of Tourism for the State of Baja California
  • Harold Hoekstra, NAI Mexico
  • Eduardo Lopez, Expedia
  • Hector Bustamante, Bustamante Realty Group
  • Jorge Balderrama, Airbnb
  • Alex Mai, Hilton
  • Juan Pablo Arroyuelo, Bruma

For a full agenda and event details, click here to download a brochure, full agenda, and visit their website to register. You may also contact Heidy Salum, Director of Binational Affairs for the Government of Baja California at (619)595-5606 or

Please note that this event will be held in Spanish.

Tijuana’s Anniversary and Fundraiser

The City of Tijuana and DIF (the National Institution for Integral Family Development) invite you to the “Binational Gala Cocktail Event” held on Friday, July 13t, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. This gala is part of the City’s 129th anniversary celebration and will take place at the Central Patio of Tijuana’s City Hall.

The event is in benefit of “Network of Young Adults Development”, an assistance program that seeks to establish a relationship with young adults from high-risk communities in order to help them stay out of the streets and back to school. In an effort to serve this noble cause and strengthen the collaborative relationship between Tijuana and San Diego, the First Lady of Tijuana extends an invitation to this fundraiser, which asks for a donation of $90 USD which will go towards this program.

For San Diego guests, the City of Tijuana will be providing transportation from and back to San Diego:

  • 3:00 p.m. Departure from Old Town Trolley Station
  • Tijuana Tourism and Conventions Committee Presentations (hors-d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served)
  • Tijuana Cultural Center tour
  • Binational Gala Cocktail, hosted by Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum and First Lady Maria Rivera de Gastelum
  • 9:00 p.m. Departure from Tijuana back to Old Town Trolley Station

For details and information on how to attend, please contact Kenia Zamarripa at

USIBWC Citizens Forum

On June 7th, Kenia Zamarripa, Chamber Director of International Business Affairs acting as USIBWC Citizens Forum board member attended the second quarterly meeting held at the Tijuana Estuary. The meeting addressed Imperial Beach’s state-mandated plan for growth and development and included a presentation by the County of San Diego on its beach and bay water quality monitoring program.

The City of Imperial Beach provided a presentation of the city’s General Plan and Local Coastal Plan adopted in 1994. The state of California has since then enacted a number of laws requiring state and local authorities to address climate change impacts including SB 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006).

The beach and bay water quality monitoring program implements a comprehensive monitoring and surveillance program in South San Diego County to protect public health year-round at ocean beaches. Program representatives provided an update on water quality monitoring activities which was finalized with a discussion of the interrelated system of the Tijuana River, the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pacific Ocean.  

The Citizens Forum Board will be touring the U.S. infrastructure of the Tijuana River Valley (Southbay Plant, Stewarts Drain, Silva Drain, Canon Del Sol, Smugglers and Goat Canyon Collector, Canyon Collector Pump Stations and the Tijuana River Flood Control Project) later this month. Future tours will cover remaining areas including infrastructure in Tijuana.

For more information about the USIBWC’s current work plan or progress on the Tijuana River Valley transboundary pollution, please visit their website.

The Colorado River as an Economic Engine for Cali-Baja

On May 30th, the Chamber hosted a Cross-Border Business Forum focusing on the importance of the Colorado River to the border region and the efforts in the U.S. and Mexico to maximize water reliability and prepare for climate change impacts. A panel of experts answered key questions such as current and future conservation measures to ensure a steady water supply.

This binational region has a combined economy of $1 trillion that continues to grow and prosper, in great part thanks to its access to water. The Mexican Water Treaty of 1944 enforced the reduction of water deliveries during a shortage and the increase during wet periods allowing Mexico and the U.S. to benefit from each other. Additionally, minute 323 provided certainty to binational collaboration by extending the treaty until 2026. Panelists discussed the challenge and need for the agreement to represent a win-win for both countries.

Furthermore, the Quantification Settlement Agreement enabled California to implement major Colorado River water conservation transfer programs, stabilizing water supplies for 75 years and reducing the state’s water demand and impact on the river to its 4.4 million acre-foot entitlement. Benefits include reducing California’s overdependence on the Colorado River, Salton Sea Restoration, and water supply.

The Chamber’s next Cross-Border Business Forum will take place August 16th, at Club de Empresarios in Tijuana.

Chamber Meets New CESPT Director

On June 5th, Jerry Sanders met with the newly appointed Director of CESPT – the State Commission of Public Services for Tijuana – German Lizola Marquez, to discuss opportunities for collaboration that advance cross-border issues. CESPT provided an overview of the work that has been done after last year’s sewage spill which was caused by the collapse of a collector due to heavy rain. In order to provide maintenance and improve water sanitation and the sewage system in general, CESPT started working on the replacement of over 4 kilometers of collectors thanks to funds provided by the Mexican Water Commission (CONAGUA), CESPT, and the North American Development Bank, and acquired specialized wastewater management equipment to provide maintenance and improvements to wastewater treatment plants.

Improving sanitation and minimizing pollution of the Tijuana River Valley is a shared concern across the border, and CESPT reiterated how related projects are a priority to Baja State’s Government. The Chamber offered CESPT a platform to continuously communicate their work, needs, and achievements with the San Diego business community and offered help in advocating for the necessary funds that are needed to fulfill these projects for the benefit of our cross-border community.

Earlier this year during federal budget appropriations discussions, the Chamber advocated in support of funding the EPA’s U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program which ultimately received $10 million. Additionally, Mexico’s National Water Commission (CONAGUA) announced an investment of $4.35 million for improvements to repair Tijuana’s sewage infrastructure. In collaboration with CESPT, these funds are currently covering the replacement sewage pipelines and the main wastewater treatment plant in order to prevent major sewage spills along the canal.

In search of more sustainable projects along the U.S.-Mexico border to finance, NADBank met with a group of over 50 regional stakeholders last month at the National Chamber of Commerce (CANACO) in Tijuana. Credits may cover up to 85 percent of a project’s cost with competitive rates for up to 25 years, which has allowed NADBank to certify and finance 244 projects so far with a total investment of $9.31 billion.

In San Diego and Baja California alone, these projects have built 22 water treatment plants and 37 potable water distribution systems. Baja California has submitted 31 projects that were financed for $381 million, of which 23 have been completed having focused on clean water/waste and air quality. To address the Tijuana River Valley transboundary pollution issue, the NADBank and the EPA contributed $790,000 in support of the sustainable projects providing upgrades and maintenance to Tijuana’s pumping stations, water treatment plants, and sewage pipes.

For more information about the North America Development Bank, project requirements, and/or to submit a project, please visit their website.


The Spirit of the Barrio Event

The Spirit of the Barrio event was held on May 18th. Chamber VP Paola Avila participated on the panel of experts who discussed border security, immigration and the emotional toll and economic impacts of cross-border issues on the San Diego-Tijuana region.

Other panelists included

  • Dulce Garcia, Immigration Lawyer and DACA recipient
  • David Nisleit, San Diego Chief of Police
  • Rodney Scott, Chief Patrol Agent, San Diego Sector, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Maya Srikrishnan, Voice of San Diego Border Reporter
  • Emcee: Steve Atkinson, 10News Anchor

Paola Avila shared the business perspective, highlighting the negative impact misperceptions the border region can have and the importance of maintaining the U.S.-Mexico relationship and a positive tone when discussing border security.

DACA Update

Earlier this year, three federal judges ordered the current administration to continue the DACA program and provided the Department of Homeland Security 90 days to present an appeal with proof that the program lacks authority.

During this period, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed accepting renewal requests for DACA. For information about the DACA renewal process, please visit their website. USCIS is no longer accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.

Last month, a lawsuit to end DACA was filed by Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Federal Court has rejected a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against DACA and ordered the federal government several deadlines for the case.

The Chamber has been working to garner support in the House for a discharge petition in an effort to force a vote on proposed legislation to prevent the deportation of Dreamers. This week’s vote in the House on two immigration bills that consider new immigration restrictions and funds for President Trump’s border wall proposal are highly contentious. We believe the best solution is Reps. Hurd and Aguilar’s bipartisan bill The USA Act.


Border Wall Funding

Earlier this year, the Trump administration requested $1.6 billion for border wall construction projects, however, White House officials have stated that this amount will be increased to at least $2.2 billion in fiscal year 2019.

The $1.3 trillion spending plan this year did not include any funds for the border wall project. It is estimated that the proposed wall could cost $25 billion to complete.

Security at most of America’s 2,000-mile southern border is tighter than it has ever been. The federal government invests $18 billion a year to ensure that safety. More than all other federal criminal-law-enforcement agencies combined.

As a military town and gateway to trade, the Chamber understands the vital importance of security and trade to our entire nation, however, a wall does not ensure security. To further increase border security we need to increase efficiency. An efficient border is a secure border and a thriving national economy.

The Chamber’s advocacy efforts are aimed at building critical infrastructure and investing in technology and staffing. The funding needs are many and will generate a higher return on investment than a border wall. These projects have been part of the Chamber’s priorities as we meet with top-level government officials during our Mexico City and Washington D.C. delegation trips. For more information about our upcoming trip to Washington D.C. please click here.