‘Grand Central Station,’ Latino Middle Class, San Diego Migrant Shelter
KPBS Midday Edition / July 10, 2019
The U.S. Navy and SANDAG will work together to draft a redevelopment plan for the Naval Base Point Loma Old Town Campus for a potential transit station. Also, a judge stopped Justice Department lawyers from quitting the census question case, California’s growing Latino middle class, and a San Diego migrant shelter treats sick families coming out of custody.
Speaker 1: 00:00 The navy has agreed to work with SANDAG, the agency responsible for transportation planning in San Diego County on the redevelopment of the site, commonly known as spay war. The agreement was announced this morning, San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulkner said the redevelopment of the site could lead to the navy's expansion in San Diego. So what does that mean? It means the creation of more jobs and according to mayor Faulkner, that's not all.
Speaker 2: 00:27 It's also a golden opportunity. As you've heard me talk on numerous occasions, a golden opportunity to explore building what some of the world's greatest cities have already done what we deserve here in San Diego. We will be closely examining through this agreement the possibility of creating a transportation hub to finally connect the trolley to the airport. This agreement is a very positive step in the right direction.
Speaker 1: 00:57 KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen was at this morning's announcement and is here with details. Andrew, welcome. Thanks jade. The location of the navy bases prime real estate in San Diego. Remind us where it is and what's currently there.
Speaker 3: 01:11 It's about 70 acres right next to the I five freeway on the eastern edge of the midway district. Uh, so right across the freeway from old town, it currently houses nav where it used to be called spay war. They changed the name to Nav war, so it's a, the navy's information more for operations. Um, they maintain communication satellites and intelligence technology and the building was built during World War II. So the space is definitely outdated and it's under utilized and the navy is really ready to upgrade it. Um, it's prime real estate because it's just a few miles away from downtown on the trolley vine, a few miles away from the airport terminal and it's right next to the freeway. Of course. Uh, the city also recently approved community plan updates for the midway district and old town. So, uh, the potential, uh, for thousands of new homes coming to this area is very real. And the naval base redevelopment could really help catalyze the transformation of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Speaker 1: 02:04 And the navy and SANDAG announced this morning they signed an agreement regarding the redevelopment of the site. What exactly have they, they agreed
Speaker 3: 02:11 to basically just to continue talking more closely. The [inaudible] are not legally binding, they're just kind of a statement on the, you know, that they'll make good faith efforts to continue cooperation. The navy has its goals, it wants to modernize its facility. It wants to of course maintain the security around it and maintain easy access for its employees. And SANDAG has its goals of creating this a San Diego grand central station that would house current and future or transit operations. And also as the mayor, uh, you heard mentioning there potentially a rail connection to the airport. I spoke with a SANDAG executive director has sonic Radha. He said he'd like to see 10 to 15,000 homes part as part of this project, uh, 10 to 15 million square feet of office space. And so the MOU is just basically a statement that we hope we can continue talking and actually merge our visions together.
Speaker 3: 03:01 That would certainly change the landscape out there. This transit hub would possibly be part of a redevelopment of the entire site that the navy would farm out to to other companies or another company. Talk to me about that. Yeah, so the navy will, and they make clear in the MOU that they're the ones to select a developer and a plan. So there's no guarantee that it will include sandbags. Vision of a transit hub. SANDAG also won't be acting as a developer, it's just consulting with the Navy on how its ideas could be incorporated into this project. So I'm SANDAG will also be working on the environmental clearance for the project and they say that they're going to be starting that very soon. But you know, and of course if mts is operating there, the the operators of the transit in the county, they would be operating out of this area as well.
Speaker 3: 03:49 How important is this location to SANDAG is future transit plans? Hassan Karada that as I mentioned, that the new executive director of SANDAG really wants to make transit to the airport as fast or if not faster than driving to the airport. That obviously fits in line with the regional environmental goals of reducing our dependence on cars and, and uh, mitigating climate change. Uh, he came up with this idea of San Diego grand central station pretty soon after he started this job, but back in December. And of course the transit plans for SANDAG are much bigger than just this location. He wants to build a rail throughout the county, um, more high speed bus networks through the neighborhoods. Uh, but you know, this is kind of a, a mega project and I think it's something that he's using as a way to draw people's attention to the potential for improving transit in San Diego County.
Speaker 3: 04:40 And what has to happen for this memorandum of understanding to turn into a full fledged agreement. As I mentioned, the SANDAG, we'll work on environmental clearance for the project. The laws are a little bit different because it's federal property, so the navy is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, but there are some environmental regulations that have to be taken care of. Um, the navy then has to select a developer. We should also mention just last week a, the airport authority announced an agreement with its airline partners to spend more than $500 million on improving transportation to the airport. So the airport authority is involved in these discussions, if it, if it indeed includes a rail connection to the airport. Um, yeah, I think we're several years away from seeing really a concrete plan about what's going to happen here. I've been speaking to KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen. Andrew, thank you. Thank you, jade.
Speaker 4: 05:32 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 The battle to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census goes on after a supreme court defeat. The Justice Department is trying to compose a stronger legal argument for the addition of the question. Meanwhile, attempts by the Trump administration to switch out attorneys still battling the issue in federal court was not approved by the judge. This is a legal battle. The president is waging on a number of different fronts including the possibility of issuing an executive order, forcing the citizenship question on the upcoming census. Joining me to explain where all these moving pieces fit in is my gas legal analyst, Dan Eaton and Dan, welcome back. Thank you. Good to be with you, Maureen. Now, can you explain briefly what the Supreme Court's ruling said and why? This is still an open question in the first place.
Speaker 2: 00:47 Sure. Maureen, let's be very clear the you, a majority of the United States Supreme Court, the conservative majority said there is nothing wrong of with the Department of Commerce including a citizenship question on the decennial census that is allowed. But once the court also said in the opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts and the part of the holding joined by the four so-called liberal justices of the Supreme Court, is that the explanation that the secretary of Commerce gave that is that the citizenship question was a necessary to help with voting rights act enforcement didn't match the administrative record. So what the court ultimately did, the majority of the court did was they sent it back to the Department of Commerce to come back with a better explanation of why it is including the citizenship question on the census questionnaire.
Speaker 1: 01:37 However, the Trump administration attorneys told the High Court that they had to have a decision by July 1st for the census forms to be printed. And in fact, the forms are being printed. So how do they explain the move to keep arguing this issue?
Speaker 2: 01:51 Well, the short answer of course, Maureen is the word tweet. Let's be clear about how we got to this point. The Department of Justice lawyers have represented that the questionnaire was being printed without the citizenship question that was followed by a statement by the secretary of Commerce. Uh, that said, uh, he was in an abandoning, including this citizenship question on this census questionnaire. But then the following day, the president of the United States issued a tweet saying that's all fake news. We are still looking to include this citizenship question and that's why we are where we are. The a judge, Judge Hazel in Maryland said, wait a minute, this is getting increasingly frustrating. I've got to know are you going to proceed or not with this citizen? Your question and if you are, we're going to continue to litigate this to decide what the basis of that question was.
Speaker 1: 02:42 Right now there are two census question cases moving forward. One in New York and one in Maryland. How are those different from what the Supreme Court heard?
Speaker 2: 02:51 Well, no, I mean those are the cases that the a this room court heard the, the supreme court heard the New York case and the are essentially the same. The Maryland case interesting now raises an eagle protection issue with respect to whether the question may uh, affect in an equal protection violation way Hispanics. But a separate, and apart from that, the fact is that the essential issue is the same. The fact is that in Maryland ice scheduling order has been set that would have all of the evidence, uh, all of the discovery done for additional evidence, uh, be disclosed in the next couple of months and a hearing, uh, in early September to decide this. Now, the federal case out of Maryland, as I understand it, is also hearing evidence. The supreme court didn't involving the discovery of a hard drive by a Republican strategist outlining the partisan motivation behind the citizenship question.
Speaker 2: 03:45 Will that be hard to overcome? It's not entirely clear because we don't exactly know what the evidence is beyond what has been reported, which suggests that there was a partisan motive. But the bottom line is that there's going to be a variety of evidence that is going to come forward. That it's either going to confirm the idea that what the secretary did was a pretext for gaining a partisan advantage or whether there are in fact, uh, reasons that we are not aware of so far that justifies the inclusion of this citizenship. Question. What we heard yesterday is that, uh, the judge in a federal case did not allow the Justice Department to switch out attorneys arguing the case as the attorney general wanted to do. Why and why would the Justice Department want to do that at this late date? This was of course in the New York case, look as a matter of ethics and a matter of rules of court, uh, attorneys who are seeking to withdraw from a pending case before a court cannot simply say peace out.
Speaker 2: 04:42 They have to come up with a satisfactory reason for it and they have to be able to assure the court that it's not going to disrupt the overall scheduling of the court. There was some reasons, for example, an attorney can withdraw or for example, that the client is seeking to assert a, a fraudulent, uh, representation before the court. It's also allowable though with the client gives him knowing a and free a consent to withdrawal. But if they do that, the court still has to weigh in and say it is allowed. And the judge, uh, Ferman up in New York said there are no satisfactory reasons that had been given. The fine line though that attorney who is seeking to withdrawal has to, has to walk is that they cannot disclose client confidences about why they want to withdraw from representation. So any kind of confidential, uh, communications they had with a attorney general barr cannot be disclosed as a basis for why these attorneys want to leave the case.
Speaker 2: 05:41 Ultimately, I suspect that these attorneys are going to come up with a satisfactory reason or for the withdrawal. The irony of course is that that is exactly the issue in the underlying set of census citizenship question. A lawsuit that is, does the secretary of commerce have a satisfactory reason for including the citizenship question in the census questionnaire and then the president says another option may be to issue an executive order or presidential memorandum including the citizenship question on the census. Can he do that even after the supreme court has ruled no more? We've, I, it's not entirely clear because understand that the supreme court decision or remanded the case ultimately back to the Department of Commerce to come up with something better in the form of an explanation. The fact is that the constitution article one of the constitution gives a responsibility and power for conducting the census to Congress, not to the president.
Speaker 2: 06:36 So a pure executive order divorce from that congressional delegation of power to the secretary of commerce would not appear to be warranted. But I don't think that's how the president guided by his attorney general will ultimately proceed. So we don't know. The answer is we don't know. There's a lot we don't know. The fact is that this case is moving very, very quickly and very rapidly in very unexpected ways. Uh, but we are going to know things in the next week or so that will make the picture clear. At least we will know of the terms under which this matter ultimately be resolved and we're running out of time. Ultimately this is going to have to result in a court decision in the lower court and then finally, potentially by the Supreme Court, all understanding that this all has to be taken care of no later than 2020 because that's what we're talking about here. A descent deal sensitive has to be conducted sometime in 2020 so this is going to put a lot of pressure on the parties and on the court to get this thing done very expeditiously. I haven't speaking with attorney Danny now, partner with the San Diego legal firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon. Invitech Dan, thank you so much. Thank you, Maureen.
Speaker 3: 07:48 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 The Latino middle-class in California is growing. The poverty rate is falling for many families. The road to financial stability has included real estate, but it's a path that's becoming harder to follow here in the first of two stories for the California dream collaboration. KPCC is Leslie Burstein. Rojas introduces us to a family that's made it
Speaker 2: 00:24 [inaudible] family loves horses one and Helen Rivera owns several of them on a two acre horse property in Chino, a suburb about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. One pets, a horse named Zein got, Oh your friend of mine brought him from fame. You might say the Rivera's are comfortable. They live in a modern Spanish style three bedroom. They designed themselves. There are stables out back in grounds, lush with purple Jacaranda, a convertible Mercedes sits in the driveway. Before this they had a five bedroom home with stables in La Mirada. Neighbors just assumed that we were driving lords and there was a rumor that came back to us. I was like, wow, that's Helen. She's an administrator with the county health department. One owns a welding repair business. Over the years. They've invested in rental properties and it's paid off nicely. The Riveras are part of a growing demographic, affluent Latinos, the children and grandchildren of immigrants who've worked their way up from blue collar origins to the middle class and beyond or seeing increases in socioeconomic attainment with each generation sense.
Speaker 2: 01:28 Immigration, Jodi, age by year hoe is a sociologist at USC. She says it's a second and third generations come of age. More Latinos have become business owners. More Latinos are graduating from high school and enrolling in college. Absolutely contrast with the myths and the rhetoric that is out there for one Rivera. It began with his parents. They came from Mexico in the 1960s and eventually sent for their kids. They didn't have legal status at first. Both worked in a foundry that made aircraft parts. In 1971 they scraped together a $3,000 down payment and bought a triplex. The family of six crammed into the front house, a small two bedroom and my mom and my dad sleep in one bedroom. Then my sister's lip on the other one. We slept in the living room. The boys and they rented out the other units and that's how the Rivera family began building their multigenerational wealth.
Speaker 2: 02:23 Growing up in east Los Angeles, Helen Rivera struggled to her parents were US citizens, but they hit hard times. When she was a kid, Helen and her dad would go to the central produce market to scrounge for food. As a little girl. It was easier for me to go in under the trucks and pick up the potatoes that fell off the truck, but in time her dad earned better pay, he was able to buy a house. Reaching financial security took both Juan and Helen years and lots of work. Neither had a college degree. Helen worked three jobs at one point, including waiting tables. One was working as a welder when he bought his first
Speaker 3: 03:00 home as a young man. Soon after he was laid off,
Speaker 2: 03:03 so then I went selling oranges on the street, but he kept on making those payments, building equity and capital. Over time. The couple started investing in property. Today they own 26 units. These properties helped their daughter, Monica go to college. She graduated from USC in 2012 with no student loans. I believe that the American dream is to come to a place where you open up new opportunities, not just for yourself but for your family. Today, Monica has a successful career in real estate. Had it not been for the road that was paid by my parents, by all of our families that came before us. I would never have gotten the opportunity to go to college. One and Helen are getting close to retirement age as Helen brewed coffee. The other morning, Monica took mugs out of the cupboard on each mug are the words Rancho Rivera. They also have custom plates with a mascot of sorts that caricature the guy sitting under a cactus. Him guys supposed to represent the drunk so this not like a real favorite thing of mine, but Helen sees something else, a tired worker rusty from working that Gavin fields from working and you know the fields period, but working, working hard, which is what the Rivera say is ultimately the key to their success.
Speaker 1: 04:24 Joining me is KPCC reporter Leslie Bera, Stein Rojas, and Leslie, welcome to the program. Thanks. Now you say that the presence of middle-class or Well-to-do Latinos contrasts with the myths about Latino Americans. What are some of the stereotypes that are fading as the Latino Poverty Rate Falls?
Speaker 3: 04:43 Well, you need to go much further than the rhetoric about immigrants from Latin America becoming, you know, public charges using up government resources, right? Or, or not wanting to assimilate as with other groups of immigrants in the past. There's long been this myth that immigrant families from Latin America who may come here with very little aren't going to evolve and thrive over time, but many do anyway. Just as his whole public charged discussion was taking place earlier this year, the Census Bureau reported the Latino poverty rate in the u s has fallen to its lowest recorded level ever and I thought, okay, you know, this is something worth exploring. We know there's Latino middle class, it's been documented, it's been reported, but we forget some times now. In the end, the economic truth falls somewhere in the middle. You have some real success stories like the Rivera family that I profiled. You have Latino middle class in the state that for many years has been contributing to the economy here in southern California. You have affluent Latinos who've totally reshaped suburbs like Downey and Whittier, but you also have families that struggle every day, especially in this state where the cost of living in housing in particular is so high.
Speaker 1: 05:43 No. Mr. Rivera, who you profiled in this story actually talks about some of the false assumptions people make about him and his wealth.
Speaker 3: 05:51 Oh yes. So one day one is there with his crew, right working on the house and he and his wife designed and they were building a few years ago and a neighbor comes up and asks him where the owner is. So he turns around, takes off his hat, then he turns back around to face the guy and says, hi, I'm one. Um, which was pretty funny, but this gets to them. But one that really gets to them as before this, they lived in a bigger house with stables in La Mirada, in a pretty swanky neighborhood. And Helen told me there was this rumor that got back to her that some of the neighbors were gossiping about them and the gossip was that here was this well to do Mexican American couple with your horses and their Mercedes. And the assumption was like, well maybe their drug lords and that really hurt as Helen put it, people just assume that you know, we can't have anything. They we're just supposed to be poor as she was especially taken aback because they each work 50 to 60 hours a week for what they have. What do statistics
Speaker 1: 06:39 tell us about the economic fortunes of Latino households?
Speaker 3: 06:43 Well, the big picture is that census data shows a declining Latino poverty rate and this is combined with a growing median income for Latinos. It's nationwide as well as in California. But while there had been gains like these, they're still a long way to go. In California at the poverty rate among Latinos is still 17% it used to be much higher. It's dropped significantly, but that's still 17% of Latinos in the state below the poverty line. So there really are haves and have nots. And while the median income is going up, it's not enough to get you much in California just this week. In fact, USC put out a new report on that dinos and money specific to California. It shows that the median income for Latino households in the state is about 56,000 right now, which is higher than it used to be, but it's still lower than for most groups. With the exception of African American households. According to this same report, a little under 40% of Latino households in California, about 38% fall into what's considered the middle income bracket, which is better than nothing, but other groups do better. There are more non that you know, whites who fall into the middle income bracket, for example, that's for the wealthy, you know, people earning upwards of 158,000 a year. Well only 7% of the state's Latinos have gotten there so far, which is lower than other groups. There's still a lot of progress to be made, which takes
Speaker 1: 07:52 access to how the Rivera's built their wealth. They invested in real estate and that was the key for them. What other avenues have Latino families taken to will prosper?
Speaker 3: 08:01 Well, you mentioned the Riveras having made their money in real estate, but much of what they invested actually came from one's welding repair business. They'd save up and invest the profits in real estate. Now that part's getting much harder to do these days, but Latino entrepreneurship continues to climb. The U S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce report steady growth among the number of Latino owned businesses and according to USC, close to a quarter of California's businesses are Latino owned. Most tend to be smaller businesses including family businesses, but they're there and while they're still an educational achievement gap, there's been a very big jump in Latino students enrolling in college. The challenge is getting more of them to graduate. Things can get in the way like family financial obligations or the fact that the educational system doesn't necessarily set these students up to succeed, but those who do complete a four year degree earn better than those who don't. But yeah, back to how the Rivera's invested in real estate. That used to be one of the most solid ways immigrant families could build wealth buying property. That's still an avenue in other states where you see much higher rates of Latino home ownership, but data shows that Latinos in California have a lower rate of home ownership than in states like say Texas or Arizona. And it has to do with affordability. So that's one avenue that's becoming much narrower here.
Speaker 1: 09:11 Alyssa, can you give us a preview of your second report? Part two, we're going to be playing it tomorrow. What did you find out about why many Latino families are still in poverty?
Speaker 3: 09:20 So the second story explores the obstacles that Latino families in California face today. The opportunities that families like the Riveras had decades ago. Back when one's parents bought a triplex with a $3,000 down payment, those days are gone. People in California are so rent burden now and not just Latinos, but everyone that the idea of buying is out of reach. They just can't save. And it's not for lack of trying. One woman I met at a food bank in Downey where you'll hear part of the story came from a two income household. She's a US citizen, the second generation child of immigrants, and while neither she nor her husband have college degrees, they both work and yet they can barely cover their rent. Other challenges are unsteady work hours. What experts call income volatility. This disproportionately affects lower wage workers of color, access to banking and credit.
Speaker 3: 10:07 That's a big problem. While this is improving, many Latinos remain unbanked or underbanked, especially the first generation. I mean the FTC says 14% of Latinos were not using banking services in 2017 this keeps people from building credit expert say issues like these must be addressed if we want to see more immigrant families succeed and it's for the second generation. Here's when you may not think of filial duty. Say you're the first one to go to college and get a good job. If your parents or siblings need financial help, you're not going to say no and that eats into your own finances. And of course the big obstacle that we haven't mentioned. Legal status. Who One told me this funny story about how his father crossed the border from Mexico, hiding in a washtub. Literally, neither of his parents had legal status at first, but they were eventually able to legalize. And this makes a huge difference in a family's potential earnings. Now, the population of immigrants without legal status in the u s has dropped significantly in the past decade. But for those who don't have it these days, getting legal status, even getting citizenship lately, it's becoming harder to do so. The second story explores these challenges and whether there's still hope for those who are trying to crack that into the class ceiling.
Speaker 1: 11:14 I've been speaking with KPCC reporter Leslie Berenstein, Rowhouse reporting for the California dream collaboration. And Leslie, thank you very much. Thank you.
Speaker 4: 11:26 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 As the House oversight committee holds a hearing about the treatment of immigrants, especially children being held in government custody. We are getting more insight on the health condition some asylum seekers are facing right here in San Diego. Hundreds battling communicable diseases. Here's Dr Jennifer Tutor, the deputy chief medical officer for San Diego County.
Speaker 2: 00:21 By far, the most common things we see are things like scabies and lice, which we treat immediately before those folk families are commingled with other families.
Speaker 1: 00:29 KPBS reporter Melina Spitzer has been covering this story and joins us now with more. Milena, welcome. Thanks for having me. This story took you to a shelter here in San Diego, run by Jewish family services where families are being dropped off after being in government custody. What kind of health ailments are they arriving with? Yeah, so typically the most common elements that we're seeing are lice and scabies, um, from being kept in such close conditions, sharing blankets and things like that. But we're also seeing a lot of influenza, chickenpox, and one of the most common issues is dehydration. You know, there isn't a lot of access to clean water. Uh, or even enough water and some of these facilities. And so a lot of the children and families are arriving very, very dehydrated at the shelter here in San Diego, a amongst the over 13,000 asylum seeking families that the shelter has serviced. There's been 746 cases of lice, 471 cases of scabies. And they did treat 235 cases of influenza, uh, over the last six months. So they are arriving to the shelter with all of these health issues after being in government custody in those detention facilities, what kind of treatment are they receiving once they get here? Yes. So I spoke with Dr Jennifer tutor who is the deputy chief medical officer for San Diego who we heard from earlier. And this is what she had to say about the treatment that they're receiving. Once they get to San Diego,
Speaker 2: 01:58 they get new clothes that have been donated, they get showers, um, and then they, if they need to be isolated or quarantine, families are kept together. But that all happens in a very safe area, um, where they follow all of the environmental and infectious disease protocols so that none of these conditions are passed along.
Speaker 1: 02:20 So they are receiving a medical treatment once they arrive here and are taken to the shelter run by Jewish family services. What can you tell us about the medical treatment? The migrants say they receive while in government custody? Well, it's interesting because as far as we know, they actually haven't received any medical treatment while in government custody or detention. And that's alarming given all of these cases of diseases and illnesses that a different, you know, migrants and asylum seekers are experiencing. We do know that, um, we've heard they've been being kept in very cold conditions. Um, so a lot of them asylum seekers in the shelter have reported that they've been held in something that they call refer to as like the icebox. So it's, it's just really, really cold conditions. Not enough water and sometimes not enough food as well. So that can be a very difficult situation.
Speaker 1: 03:15 And of course being kept in close quarters, a lot of these illnesses are spreading. In your reporting, you found that these asylum seekers from Central America are suffering from more than just physical ailments. Can you talk to me about that? So a lot of the asylum seekers that are coming from Central America are actually fleeing gang violence in their countries and the conditions that they have fled can really lead to some traumatic experiences in addition to the harrowing journey and any conditions that they might face in detention centers. Upon arriving, we've been hearing about mothers and their preteen boys arriving here in San Diego and many of them were recruited to join cartels. But when those families, or when those children say no, uh, oftentimes they're receiving threats to either themselves being killed or their whole families. And so in addition to that, we've heard reports from the doctor about assaults that they've gone through as well as threats on their life.
Speaker 1: 04:16 So really there they're fleeing really difficult conditions. Um, and if we, when you add to that, when they get into detention or custody, they're put in such close quarters in very cold conditions without enough food or water that really compounds the experience and many, many of the migrants at the shelter here in San Diego do reports or are showing signs of trauma. So then what is the shelters response to that trauma? Well, the shelter takes a trauma informed approach and Dr Tutor shared that. That's just like everything that we do here in the county of San Diego, right? So it's a live well approach. So what they're doing is creating a healthy, safe space where the migrants can thrive as long as they're at the shelter, which is typically only between 12 and 72 hours. So it's really, they're not recommending to ask a lot of questions about the trauma.
Speaker 1: 05:04 It's really not the appropriate place to start treating the trauma, but they do create safe playing areas for the children and safe spots all around the shelter. And it's clear and enforced that there's no yelling allowed, no screaming and no bullying and no violence. And of course no weapons. So the goal is to create a very safe place where they can feel comfortable in that shelter. Um, as part of that trauma informed approach before they continue on in their journey to be reunited with their families or their sponsors and other places around the United States. You talk about how policy is impacting the number of families arriving at the shelter also, which, you know, on the surface sounds like things are making a turn for the better, but that's not the case. That's right. So we know that the government has been implementing here in San Diego and in other border areas, the MPP, which is the migrant protection plan.
Speaker 1: 05:53 And what that essentially does is it sends migrants and asylum seekers back to Mexico to await their hearings. Um, and, uh, the shelter. Um, operators believe that this is actually one of the main causes for seeing the drop off in numbers at the shelter. It's not that people are not crossing, though. Typically they cross in smaller numbers during the summers because of the extreme heat and the deserts. But there are, hasn't really been a decline of people waiting at the border. Uh, it's more that, um, now in addition to individuals being sent back to Mexico to wait their hearings under the NPP, they've also started sending families back. And so the families simply are not arriving at our San Diego shelter because they're being sent back to wait on the other side of the border in Mexico. And the doctor said that that is concerning because they know that children really need to be housed.
Speaker 1: 06:41 They need, they need that support as well as adults. And so when you put a family into a precarious situation maybe where there aren't resources, where there isn't food security, where the temperatures are not appropriate, they may be sleeping in the streets if there's not room in the shelters on the Mexican side, that can be had additional trauma to the situation. And so this policy can detrimentally affect those families. What is Jewish family services asking for in terms of community assistance in their efforts to create a safe space for asylum seekers at this point? Yes. So there's a lot that people can do and Sandy, um, Jewish family services as part of the San Diego rapid response network. And so you can go to the rapid response networks website, which is rapid response s d. Dot. Org and they're, they're giving a lot of information about the types of ways that people can contribute.
Speaker 1: 07:33 They do need financial contributions because the shelter itself takes about $450,000 to operate things like portable showers, food, electricity, air conditioning, all of that is, is part of the operation costs a, but they're also accepting physical donations. Things like clothing, gently use toys. You know, when the families leave the shelter to go onto their final destination, they're often going on a bus ride that takes three or four days. And so children need something to keep them occupied. So that could be toys or games. But really the financial contributions can also help with a fund that goes towards transport. If by any chance their family members or sponsors aren't able to pay for tickets, um, then those tickets are purchased from that fund. And so there are some physical locations in San Diego where donations can be dropped off. And those are on the website as well. But those are the Good Samaritan Episcopal church and the UTC area and Lady of Guadalupe in Barrio Logan. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Malaina Spitzer. Malina, thank you so much. Thank you.