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US Sending Troops To San Diego Border, Non-Citizens Recruited By Military Not Allowed To Serve, And Weekend Arts Events Preview

 March 6, 2020 at 11:27 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 The remain in Mexico policy hits a roadblock and some people recruited by the military are now being pushed out due to immigration status. I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. Speaker 1: 00:22 It's Friday, March 6th this week, the ninth circuit court of appeals dealt a setback to the Trump administration's remain in Mexico policy, formerly known as MPP or migrant protection protocols. The program requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their court case comes up in the United States. The ruling from the ninth circuit covers California and Arizona. Meanwhile, the Trump administration says it's sending troops to the Southern border while the Supreme court decides if it will step in. Joining us to talk about this is KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler and max, thanks so much for joining us. I gotta be here. So I set it up a bit in the introduction, but can you give us a fuller picture of where we sit right now in regard to the remain in Mexico policy? Speaker 2: 01:11 Yeah, it gets a bit convoluted, doesn't it? And even people who really closely follow immigration law in the U S to have had their head spinning over the past few days over these decisions. So just some background is that it was just over a year ago that the remain in Mexico policy kicked off and sent back what would become around 60,000 people back to Mexico to wait for their court dates. This was quickly challenged in court by a variety of groups, um, legal aid organizations that were helping immigrants, uh, saying that this blatantly violated the asylum system in the U S and there was an initial injunction from a district judge back, uh, last spring. That injunction was then stayed pending a larger review by the ninth circuit court of appeals, which has jurisdiction in California and Arizona and other States along the West coast. There was arguments in that case in October and then finally last week, last Friday to be exact, a decision came down finding that remain in Mexico was in fact unconstitutional and should be stopped immediately. The court itself then stayed its own ruling to kind of decide when this would take effect and then issued a new ruling earlier this week saying this would go into effect on March 12th, however, the Supreme court could step in and decide to police their own stay on the injunction letting the program remain in place. Before then, Speaker 1: 02:39 you know, after the injunction was put in place, a group of 30 families went to the border and tried to get in, but they were turned back. Do we know why it played out that way? Speaker 2: 02:48 I was there at around seven 30 last Friday night at the Santa Sutra port of entry. As these families commonly made their way to the border at that precise moment, the ninth court of appeals stayed their own injunction saying, Hey, we're, we're actually going to review this for a little bit longer. And there was no procedural way for these people to enter the United States. Uh, they waited, they talked to border patrol agents and they told them that even though the injunction had come down and even though it had been stayed, no one was going to be admitted into the U S that day. Um, so people really were in a desperate situation then because many of them had left shelters that they'd been staying at for weeks or months. They'd brought all their belongings with them and there was just confusion and chaos along the border. But one thing I would like to stress is that there was no actual violence or bottleneck there. Speaker 2: 03:35 W it was a very peaceful and calm, a collection of people trying to exercise what they saw as their rights, you know, and now we learned the administration is sending troops to the border, 82, the border here and another 80 to El Paso where the ninth circuit's order doesn't even apply. What's the reasoning behind that? The reasoning is a in, in Matamoros at least, there was a lot of people who did come to the port of entry and were told that they would have to turn back. Um, the customs and border protection then actually momentarily closed the bridge into the United States between Matamoros and the United States and said, we're going to, um, we're going to, uh, wait and see, uh, what, what the court says and we're not going to let anybody in. And they kind of portrayed this as a security issue, whether it was or not. Speaker 2: 04:26 Our journalists on the ground there said, you know, nothing was violent and wasn't a security issue. Um, and as far as I can tell, it's an a seizure. It was a very calm moment. But obviously what they're preparing for is a situation where people, um, where the injunction does go into, into effect and people do come to the border and mass to say, Hey, we were illegally sent back to Mexico. We deserve to be processed in the United States and border patrol, um, and customs and border protection to this point has seemed unwilling to accommodate that request. And instead says, well, you know, we're going to process people like we normally do, which is incredibly slowly. The administration has also said the Corona virus played a part in the decision to send the troops, but a year at the border all the time. And there are no obvious precautions being taken in that regard. Speaker 2: 05:14 What more do you know about that aspect of the true border? Right. So Mexico, like the rest of the world is beginning to get its first confirmed cases of coronavirus. There've been some in Mexicali. Uh, there've been a few spread out across Baja. Um, and, and the kind of tagging on of Corona virus to this true build up along the border is interesting because the actual precautions that are being taken at the port of entry, at least last one I crossed, um, were fairly minimal. They're, they're not asking people, um, where they've been recently. There's no, uh, there is signage that, Hey, if you've been to China, um, you know, let us know. But you know, no one's taking anyone's temperature. No one is really asking too much about where people have come from and where they're going. So, um, it's interesting that they would tie both the asylum seekers who have been in Tijuana. These are people who have been sent back to Tijuana. They've been there for months to the idea of the spread of coronavirus, uh, seeing as though we know for a fact these people have not left Mexico. I have been speaking with KPBS reporter max Riverland Adler max, thanks for joining us. Thank you. Speaker 3: 06:24 [inaudible] Speaker 4: 06:27 some U S military recruits are fighting with the government to allow them to serve. They were recruited through a special program that allowed non American citizens into the armed services if they had foreign language skills or other special expertise. But the program now is at a standstill. Josie Wong reports for the American Homefront project at an army recruiting station in the Phoenix suburbs. So John Lee shows me a wall of photos. These are recruits. He's gone to military drills with this guy will super motivated all the time. He is now a combat engineer. Lee points to another photo. She is own. She's old medic. Lee's photo is up there too on the top left, but more than four years after he signed up for the military, he hasn't been able to serve a sophistical with them together and I'm still here alone. If I left me, Lee did not see this coming. It was an army recruiter who convinced him to join the military because of a program called magni. It offered citizenship to foreign nationals with special skills it needed. Lee looked forward to becoming naturalized within months of enlisting in exchange for his Korean language skills. I had great feeling and a good perspective on the United state government. Lee at first come to the U S as a foreign exchange student to learn English while in high school in Louisiana, he joined the junior ROTC, retired army Lieutenant Colonel James Gardner was his instructor. Speaker 5: 07:51 Every event that we had soldier on leave was there. Color guard, drill team, rifle team. He was an excellent shooter, Speaker 4: 08:00 but after Lee was sworn into the army, his ship database of training got postponed. Then it happened again and again. The military said Lee posed a security risk because his parents provided financial support from South Korea, which Lee says hasn't been true for years. Another red flag for screeners was that Lee's relatives had served in the South Korean military. Lee says that is true, but service is mandatory for men there sometimes thing if all this thing was just a dream and I'm the one who is crazy. Supporters of madni say that Lee's story is common among recruits who joined in and around 2016 that's the year of the Obama administration. Stop taking new applicants. Then the Trump administration subjected those recruits already in the pipeline to tighter screening Speaker 2: 08:47 and they have effectively killed them off knee program by imposing all kinds of delays and arbitrary reasons. Denial. Speaker 4: 08:56 Steven yeller teaches immigration law at Cornell university. While the government has accused several madni recruits of suspicious behavior, yeller says he's mystified by how the larger group is being treated given the problems that the military is having in meeting its recruiting goals. Foreign nationals are an important component to our military. A panic on spokeswoman calls. The vetting process essential to national security and time consuming because the military has limited ability to verify information in some recruits home countries. Marker Korean leads a center for immigration studies which supports tighter controls on immigration. You know it's better safe than sorry. Quite frankly, Korean says too many immigrants had been treating madni as an easy shortcut to citizenship. Speaker 6: 09:44 Mammy turned into just another way of immigrating to the United States instead of a very targeted program for a handful of really high value people, Speaker 4: 09:56 but some rejected map and he recruits have challenged the militaries decision in court and been reinstated. These also trying to get the military to take him back, let her supporting him have come from the likes of his old Jay ROTC instructor, James Gardner, the retired officer had moved to Arizona and is let Lee live for free with him. Leah says, it's funny like if I did something suspicious, he's the first one who will report me. In the meantime, Lee's student visa has expired. He can stay in the U S until he's done with college. Then he may have to return to South Korea and serve there. I'm Josie Wong. Speaker 1: 10:31 This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. This weekend preview is packed with music, art, and even science. We've got the city ballet and presenting works from Balanchine, a pairing of science and music at the Salk Institute, plus a band raised in national city and it's your last chance to catch a nostalgic and unsettling exhibition at the Anthony IOM. Joining me is KPBS arts editor, Juliet Dixon Evans with all the details. Julia, welcome. Hi Jade. So this weekend the city ballet of San Diego presents a a program of Balanchine ballets. Tell us about Balanchine. Speaker 7: 11:20 So the famous George Balanchine is said to be one of the most influential choreographers in modern ballet. He was working roughly from the late 1920s through his death in the 80s he founded the New York city ballet and I'm trying to get to the bottom of who Balanchine was. I read in a UT article that a solo and one of his works is one of those springboard casting moments in a dancer's career. Kind of like playing Hamlet. Speaker 1: 11:48 So tell us about some of the work the city ballets will perform. Speaker 7: 11:51 So they'll perform to Balanchine ballets, including who cares, which Balanchine's started working on with Gershwin shortly before his death. And then it took Balanchine another 33 years to finally write the ballet using 16 Gershwin songs, including of course who cares, but also a bunch of other favorites like strike up the band sweet and low down and fascinating rhythm. So this is a recording of fascinating rhythm by George Gershwin Speaker 3: 12:35 [inaudible]. Speaker 7: 12:37 So this ballet, while it was choreographed in the late sixties it premiered in 1970 it really evoked that 1920s New York vibe. Speaker 1: 12:46 Yeah, it sounds very lively. Like there are lots of PKS in there and the city ballet of San Diego performs tonight and Saturday at 8:00 PM and Sunday at 2:00 PM at Spreckels theater. I'm moving on. The Salk Institute holds their quarterly science and music concert this Sunday afternoon. What can we expect? So these kinds of, Speaker 7: 13:06 it's they pair a scientist who will give a talk for a general audience and it's peppered with some music. Who performs this Sunday? Well, let's start with the science. Danielle angle is faculty at the South cancer center. She studies pancreatic cancer trying to develop early detection and effective therapies by making miniature organoids in the lab. And I've been told she's a very dynamic speaker. Very interesting. And tell me about the music. So with Karen joy Davis on piano and Juliet Harlan on cello, they'll perform a wide repertoire of works. So there's a Brahms rap city, a bunch of lively Chopin, Polish dances and then Rachmaninoff's dynamic and dark Sonata for cello and piano and G minor Speaker 3: 14:07 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 14:08 the sulk Institute science and music concert takes place Sunday at 4:00 PM then what's happening in the world of local music this weekend? Speaker 7: 14:16 So national city locals, low shadows plays a show at soda bar on Sunday night. This band put out a full length album called not a safe space last fall and it's a really great lesson. They were raised on rap and hip hop, but eventually landed on a more unique Indy synth sound by way of discovering Nirvana and poetry when they were in middle school. Some of the songs are really atmospheric, kind of a bit cinematic, and some of them are really catchy. Speaker 1: 14:47 It sounds like an interesting mix. Let's listen to 2:00 AM Lowe's shadows Speaker 3: 15:01 [inaudible]. Speaker 7: 15:13 So they're opening for LA based indie band cones who also have such a dreamy sound. It should be a really great show. All right. Yeah, it gives me 1980s vibes. So like it low shadows and Colin's play at soda bar on Sunday at 8:30 PM and your weekly PBS arts newsletter, you spotlight exhibitions or performance runs that are closing soon. What's closing this weekend? It's your last chance to see a pretty profound exhibition at the LA Jolla Athenaeum long time San Diego artists, Christine Oatman's, stories of innocence and experience closes on Saturday. And this exhibition centers on altered mid century children's books. What can we expect? So each Tableau in her exhibition has a series of full-size classroom scenes with cardboard cutout children, and then these children's books. Um, like a curious George book about going into outer space or the steadfast 10 soldier and she takes that sort of rosy optimism of the 50s and, and sheds light on it from, from the actual future, like Vietnam, nine 11, animal cruelty and lockdown drills. It sort of really spotlights the social structures and our nostalgia and it closes on Saturday. It does. And incidentally, the Athenaeum is on the San Diego arc architectural foundation's free Oh tours this weekend, so be sure to include that on your plans for Saturday while the exhibition is still up. Christine Oatman's, stories of innocence and experience closes Saturday again at the Anthony, I'm music and arts library in LA Jolla. For more arts events, subscribe to the KPBS art I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans. Julia, thanks so much for joining us. Thank you.

The Trump administration is sending troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego in case a federal appeals court strikes down one of the Trump administration's Remain in Mexico policy, which requires asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while their case works its way through the court in the U.S. Plus, the military recruited non-citizens with foreign language skills or other special expertise under the MAVNI program, but the program is now at a standstill, putting many recruits in limbo. And, we have a preview of this weekend’s many arts events throughout the San Diego region.