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CA Judge Upholds Flores Settlement, TwitchCon Highlights Esports In San Diego And GI Film Festival Preview

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A federal judge in Los Angeles today tentatively ruled the Trump administration’s new rule on the indefinite detention of immigrant families violates the Flores settlement agreement, which says children must not be kept in custody for longer than 20 days. Plus, esports is a budding industry in San Diego and this weekend TwitchCon, the live streaming and gaming convention, is bringing it to the forefront. And, more than two dozen films, shorts and documentaries are being screened this weekend at the GI Film Festival. We’ll have a preview.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 The Trump administration's effort to rewrite the rules governing detention of immigrant children. Got a setback in court today since 1997 the Flores settlement has defined acceptable conditions for the detention of children by the U S government. One of its central provisions is that children must not be kept in immigration custody for longer than 20 days. New Trump administration guidelines are attempting to overrule the settlement, but their arguments did not succeed in federal court today. And joining me is KPBS reporter max Rivlin Nadler. He's on Skype and he's joining us from the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Max, welcome to the program. Hi, what happened in court today

Speaker 2: 00:42 in court today, judge jolly M G ruled on whether the government could essentially turbinate the Flores settlement agreement. The government last month put out a new rule saying that it had the right to detain families for indefinitely for as long as it deemed fit and the Flores settlement agreement, which you would violate the plaintiffs for that case. Uh, we're back in court once again today to argue that this could not be allowed to go into effect because it was a clear violation of that agreement. Today in court, the judge distributed a draft decision which essentially said what the plaintiffs are arguing is true that the government cannot put this rule into place because it would terminate and the Flores settlement agreement, which by the terms of the agreement cannot be terminated until a rule that actually abides by it is put into place.

Speaker 1: 01:36 Let me break this down a little bit and and talk to you about some aspects of the new regulations that the Trump administration wanted to replace the Flores settlement with the Flores settlement contains rules about the way children should be housed and treated in immigration detention. Do the new Trump regulations share those guidelines in any way?

Speaker 2: 01:56 They don't. Uh, they don't share the guidelines of the agreement because essentially what the government is saying is that it has the right to detain families. It apprehended at the border indefinitely. The floor settlement agreement has, it's been interpreted by the courts over the past several years. Basically says there is a 20 day limit to how long minors can stay in detention, doesn't matter if they're unaccompanied, doesn't matter if they're with a family. It all that matters is that they are a minor. And that was basically the point of contention is that the government was arguing today that because these are families, it's not something that's covered by the Flores settlement agreement. And basically the judge Dolly mg said, this is what the agreement says regarding miner's families that have minors should be treated the same as regular miners. And you can't change this contract and stressed a number of times that this is essentially contract law. You can't just back out of an agreement that you made, you know, albeit over, you know, 20 years ago because it no longer suits what the government deems as feasible.

Speaker 1: 03:02 Now with the administration's asylum ban at the Southern border and the so called remain in Mexico policy in effect, are their families still being detained?

Speaker 2: 03:13 Right. So one thing that acting department of Homeland security secretary, Kevin mescaline and said last week was that there will be no more families released into the U S people either be sent back into Mexico or detained under the new rules. Well the problem with that is that there are several cases currently playing out in court that could throw a wrench into the administration's plans. Um, one of those is the fact that the remain in Mexico program is still currently being litigated and in fact has a case coming up in the ninth circuit next week. If remain in Mexico were to be struck down, then you are back in a situation where you are detaining large amounts of families. Of course the number of families in detention and miners in general have gone down over the past several months while remained in Mexico has ramped up. But if it was deemed to violate the law or was put on hold by a higher court, um, that is something that could shoot right back up those numbers. So while it is currently not as important as it's been in the past, the Flores settlement agreement could become central once again to how the U S shapes its policy around detaining families very soon.

Speaker 1: 04:25 What does this ruling today mean to children and families who are in detention in immigration detention? Right now

Speaker 2: 04:32 what it means is that according to the ruling, they cannot be held in detention for longer than 20 days. If they're an unaccompanied minor, they have to be chained. They have to be given over to office of refugee resettlement custody and placed either with a family member who would like to take them in or they would stay in licensed care provider facilities. Of course these have come under scrutiny over the past year and then if you're a family in detention, again you cannot be held longer than 20 days. That being said, the court appointed monitor for the floor settlement agreement has found that the government has repeatedly violated the terms of the Flores settlement agreement in terms of hygiene, in terms of length of stay in facilities. The government has countered that given the amount of families showing up on our Southern border, they just can't process and place and kind of get people through the process of being detained within 20 days. Um, so you see people held for much longer than 20 days, but ultimately the kind of controlling settlement here is that they do have to eventually be released.

Speaker 1: 05:38 Where does this draft ruling go from here? Where does this case go from here?

Speaker 2: 05:42 The draft ruling from here is we're probably most likely heading to the higher court. In this case, it'd be been ninth circuit court of appeals where most Flores settlement agreement where almost all Flores settlement agreement peels and up. Every time the government tries to modify the settlement agreement, or in this case, terminate it, you end up in the ninth circuit court of appeals, which has either expanded the Flores settlement agreement or kind of disagreed with what the government is arguing. So I would, you know, depending on what the government would like to do, of course, they haven't filed anything yet, but most likely we will see this case argued once again in the ninth circuit court of appeals.

Speaker 1: 06:19 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter max Rivlin Nadler, who's been joining us by Skype from the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Max, thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Films about heroes, survivors, warfare, healing, and much more are playing in the fifth annual GI film festival, the movies, documentaries, and short subjects featured at the festival. Explore a wide range of military themes. KPBS organizes the GI film festival in partnership with the film consortium, San Diego and the GI film group. And joining me now is Richie Coleman, a Marine Corps veteran and one of the festivals advisory committee members. And Richie, welcome to the show. So much coin. It is great to be with you. So what are some of the highlights of this year's festival?

Speaker 2: 00:36 Well, this year's festival consists of 34 films being premiered. Uh, the advisory committee had a very difficult task of neck and down over a hundred nominations in order to determine these 34 that were qualified for this premiere. And, uh, I gotta say that, uh, I've really learned to appreciate how difficult it can be to make a great film. So one that really stands out is a documentary called Mosul. Uh, the executive producer is Daniel Gabriel. His very unique paradigm is having served in the CIA, uh, six tours and Afghanistan and Iraq. And basically he worked through his network of Iraqi's to produce this film. There were no Americans in the film. So it's strictly through the paradigm, the prism of Iraqis, you know, it really helped me to truly appreciate the challenge of working through this sectarian divide that really challenges a country all together. And how the unified in order to defeat ISOL ISIS in the battle for Mosul in what was a just a brutal campaign.

Speaker 1: 01:45 Well, as you say, opening your eyes. That's one of the things I think that the GI film festival wants to do to this broad range of what, of the aspects of, of being in the military and being in warfare and, and having combat experiences and, and, and survivors guilt. So is that why the range is so broad to bring that entire spectrum to the public?

Speaker 2: 02:08 It really serves as a bridge among what I consider to be a very deep and widening gap. Of those, the 8% that have worn the cloth, the military service, military uniform versus the 92% that have not. So what we really have at the GI film festival is a bridge that's built to help explain the world around us.

Speaker 1: 02:29 One of the films that's getting a lot of attention at the GI film festival is donut dollies, and we have a clip from that film.

Speaker 3: 02:37 Our mission was morale for the enlisted man. When you started to describe the program, you would get the reaction of you didn't want, my job was a donut. Dolly was to be as cheery and optimistic as I could. That's what a donut deli is. A gal from home who came and cared neighbor really, really exposing themselves to real dangers. Also the everyday boot

Speaker 2: 03:00 at any given time, they could have been killed. Things like that. They make you grow up and this film follows to red cross donut dollies as they returned to Vietnam 50 years later to retrace their steps. I mean that's, that's, that's one of the ways that this festival broadens the notion of what it means to serve one's country. So again, you have a very broad spectrum of themes. However, what really stands out from me having, you know, sifted through a lot of these that were nominated, including a film such as this one or documentaries such as this one, is that you have really three categories that stand out. You know, there this um, noble service. Uh, there was selfless sacrifice and there meaningful relationships formed. I would say that, you know, this film really depicts all three. Now we also have a clip from another festival film. Others may live American Patriot about the bond a Vietnam veterans shared with the man who saved his life.

Speaker 4: 04:04 Yo, I thought about that day a whole lot when you understand you had somebody take your place, it was caring for you and watching after you. And then the whole process of doing that they died. I kind of had a burden and I think my burden was always is to maybe to not disappoint and uh, try to live, uh, and appreciate it.

Speaker 2: 04:37 You know, one of the aspects of this festival, there are also panel discussions after some of the films and that sounds like one of them that could have a lot of people have a lot to say about it. Absolutely right. So I mentioned Mosul just the other night saw that one, the documentary, uh, and I could have stayed all night long and to hear the panel discussion we heard from, uh, will, will, was a former army medic embedded, uh, with, uh, American forces with the original fight for Mosul who went back as a civilian. Uh, and I could've listened to his story. That could have been a great movie in the hope one day. It will be. But yeah, what became evident for me was to realize how the value of these films is a lot of us, a lot of those, the 8% that have served are really processing their experience or really working through, uh, this narrative.

Speaker 2: 05:34 So it speaks for many veterans again, with that, that noble service, the selfless sacrifice in these meaningful relationships. What would you say this festival means to San Diego's military community? San Diego is America's finest defense community. Uh, we have probably the third greatest number of military members and veterans, any County in the country. But when you think about the concentration, 13% of our per capita are those that have served. So it's, it's distinct. You know, it really helps us, I think, to better understand the world around us, to better express our narrative, our point of view, uh, among those that may be have not served. Now, I have been speaking with Richie Coleman, one of the festivals advisory committee members. That GI film festival runs through Sunday at the museum of photographic arts at Belvaux or park and ultra star cinema in mission Valley for ticket information. You can go to our website@kpbs.org and Richie, I want to thank you so much for your time. Thank you very much more and it's been a pleasure.

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.