Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Election 2020

Trump Issues Memo To Exclude Unauthorized Immigrants From Census, Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise And California’s Undocumented Workers’ Situation Still Perilous

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO BY ALEX WONG GETTY IMAGES

President Trump departs a July 2019 press conference on the census with U.S. Attorney General William Barr (center) and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in the White House Rose Garden.

President Trump on Tuesday issued a memorandum calling for unauthorized immigrants to be excluded from the census count. The Constitution requires every person living in the U.S. be counted. Plus, an experimental vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca is showing promise, according to a new study. Also, California is allowing barbershops, hair and nail salons to reopen if they move their operations outside, but an industry group says some shops may not be able to get the accommodations required from their landlords, neighbors and or other businesses. And, even with aid from the state, with many businesses closed because of the pandemic, the situation for California’s undocumented workers remains perilous. Finally, during the pandemic quarantine, social media can be a lifeline that allows people to keep connected but it also can steal people’s attention in large chunks of time that can easily get out of hand.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The administration throws a last minute curve ball into census calculations.

Speaker 2: 00:05 It's an attempt to scare people. It's an attempt to limit the power of the people.

Speaker 1: 00:10 I'm Alison st. John with Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS midday. Hair salons are not happy with the restrictions on what services they can offer outside with that,

Speaker 2: 00:31 Of course, a long list of caveats news

Speaker 1: 00:35 On the work to find a new vaccine for COVID-19 and how to talk to our kids about screen time. That's all ahead on.

Speaker 1: 01:01 Even with the challenges of the pandemic, people have been responding to the 2020 census count at quite a good rate, but today president Trump threw in a curve ball. He issued a memo directing the administration to exclude undocumented immigrants when calculating congressional districts Trump's moved during the final months of the 2020 census collection seems to violate the constitutional basis of the census, which calls for a count of all persons in the country. And it comes as census takers prepare for one of their biggest challenges doing door to door counts during a pandemic. Joining me is Christopher Wilson. He's associate director with Alliance San Diego, a social justice organization. Christopher Wilson also serves on the California complete count committee. And Christopher, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 01:51 Thank you, Maureen. I'm glad to be here with you today.

Speaker 1: 01:53 How might this move by the Trump administration affect the census count here in San Diego?

Speaker 2: 01:59 Well, this is just another dastardly tactic from a desperate person to hold onto power. It's an attempt to scare people. It's an attempt to limit the power of the people. And it's also, I think in some ways, trying to punish those States that have stood up against his many efforts to, um, to, to ruin our communities and, and, and separate our families. I don't know where this ends, but it's, it could have a huge impact on people participating in the census. When we've already had to overcome one scare with the citizenship question here we are at the end of the process facing another scare,

Speaker 1: 02:40 Great controversy and a Supreme court decision forbidding the Trump administration to put a citizenship question on the census. If there is no citizenship question, how would anyone be able to exclude undocumented immigrants from the congressional seat count? How would they even know who they were?

Speaker 2: 02:57 Well that's, that's a very good, I don't have an answer to that question. I don't know how they would accomplish this. We know that when it comes to the census, because of the way the data is released, it's not, it's not individualized. Um, and so how the census Bureau would eliminate undocumented folks from a count of any congressional district is difficult to imagine for me. And when it comes to redrawing, the districts that work is not done by the federal government. And so they don't have a hand in it. California's congressional districts will be drawn by the California citizens, redistricting commission, and those folks are not under any obligation to follow an executive order from president Trump in Washington, DC. And so how this will actually be accomplished as a mystery to me.

Speaker 1: 03:46 Do you expect there will be a legal challenge?

Speaker 2: 03:49 I certainly expect a legal challenge. Uh, I read in an article, the ACLU is already working on filing a legal challenge. We got wind of this executive order over the weekend and immediately organizations across the country started working on, uh, how they would fight it. Uh, Alliance San Diego will re release sustainment shortly,

Speaker 1: 04:10 Even though the citizenship question has been kept off the census, has it had an effect on response rates?

Speaker 2: 04:17 Yes, the fight and the controversy over the citizenship question was enough to scare people into not participating and not just undocumented people. We're talking in a region where half of the residents have undocumented family members. It scared people who have no reason to be afraid from participating. And we've been calling residents all over San Diego County to try to get them to participate in a census. And we're still hearing from folks that they have a real fear for what it might do to family members or even themselves if they participate. And so this is just another tactic to drive down the count and areas like San Diego and States like California will be hard hit by this.

Speaker 1: 05:00 How is San Diego doing in terms of response rates?

Speaker 2: 05:03 I would say San Diego is doing great. We've already matched our 2010 self response rate. And, um, we're going into the last phase of our public outreach called non-response followup, which is definitely gonna take the self response rate up a little higher. So, you know, those things tend to make me think that we're doing good.

Speaker 1: 05:23 What's the actual number of response rate here in San Diego,

Speaker 2: 05:26 Right at 67 68%.

Speaker 1: 05:29 And how does that compare with the nation as a whole?

Speaker 2: 05:32 We're doing much better than the nation. We're leading the nation by several percentage points.

Speaker 1: 05:36 Christopher, remind us why it's important for San Diego ans to respond to the census,

Speaker 2: 05:42 To COVID and, and the fight for racial justice and all the other very public instances of, of civic participation. We said it was important to participate. So there San Diego could get its full distribution of resources and funding from the federal government. We said it was important to participate so that communities, uh, know how to plan properly for resources and programs for residents. I think now more than ever, we see with COVID-19 and with the fight for racial justice and all the conversations around budget allocations and resource distribution, that the census is a very important tool to make sure that we, um, keep our community safe and healthy.

Speaker 1: 06:22 And how will the door to door census taking be changed by the COVID pandemic?

Speaker 2: 06:28 I think the federal government is still trying to figure that part out. We know that enumerators were supposed to have gone out already. That's been delayed several times. I believe it's delayed because we're seeing no decrease in the number of cases and infections from COVID. I think that, um, they're trying to find an effective way to go door to door without, you know, proper guidance and information from the federal government. The public will not feel safe with people knocking on their doors that they don't know, even wearing a mask standing six feet away. That's not enough to build the level of trust folks need. And I think the leadership at the top of this country has to come out and support the guidance from the CDC in how we protect everyday citizens. Not to mention the census enumerators who will be going out and knocking on doors.

Speaker 1: 07:21 And when is that supposed to start? Now?

Speaker 2: 07:23 That's supposed to start, um, midway through August.

Speaker 1: 07:26 I've been speaking with Christopher Wilson, he's associate director with Alliance San Diego. He's also serves on the California complete count committee. Christopher, thank you so much.

Speaker 2: 07:37 Thank you, Maureen. It's great to be with you today.

Speaker 1: 07:47 Promising results out of the UK this week, scientists at the university of Oxford have been working on an experimental coronavirus vaccine and the early trial results show. The vaccine produces an immune response in hundreds of people, months after they got the shot. The research came out in the journal Lancet on Monday KPBS science and technology reporter Shalina chatline has spoke about the results with Shane Crotty and infectious disease expert and vaccine scientist out of the LA Institute for immunology. So now that you've had a chance to look through the research, what are your initial thoughts?

Speaker 2: 08:25 It's encouraged? I think it's hard to make vaccines and there, there are lots of ways, lots of stumbling blocks on the way. Um, but yet looking at the, these vaccine trial results, they, they largely look like what what's expected, what this particular vaccine candidate was, was hopefully going to be able to do in terms of eliciting immune responses. One key immune response of interest is the antibody response. And it is eliciting neutralizing antibodies. The antibodies we care about the most against SARS

Speaker 3: 08:56 Too. And those are, it was basically in a a hundred percent of people. And there was a reasonable amount, the amount of antibodies that have vaccine elicits are a key thing that people are paying attention to in, in this one.

Speaker 4: 09:09 Yeah. I was just going to ask, how does this vaccine compare to others that are going through clinical trials? Because I know there maybe close to a dozen under the world health organization right now that are going through anywhere from stage one to stage three clinical trials.

Speaker 3: 09:24 Yeah, that's a great question. And in some sense, it's, it's not answerable basically because, um, immunology is complicated. And so the asset, the tests that get run for each clinical trial are run by different labs in different places, you know, so it's very hard to do, try and do any direct comparisons. My take on these is that there's been a whole bunch of vaccine clinical trial, uh, immune system data, immune response data been been released in the past two weeks and almost all of it's been encouraging, you know? And so to me, it's really good to see multiple different vaccine candidates doing reasonably well, you know, in their, in their either phase one or phase two clinical trials. It's, uh, you know, that the soccer analogy would be shots on goal. You know, you you'd like to have a bunch of vaccine candidates cause it's definitely the case that not all of them are going to work. So you want to have multiple candidates that each look reasonable and a number of these candidates that, that have been in the news today in the past couple of weeks use different technologies. So that's also good as well. You know, that not every vaccine strategy that's moving forward is identical. They are trying some different things. They are eliciting different immune responses as well.

Speaker 4: 10:48 Right? So if I'm understanding you correctly, the idea is that our body has all of these different types of weapons against the virus that can be helpful in stopping it. And this particular vaccine appears to be sort of encouraging all of those different weapons to be active in the body. Even months after the shot was administered.

Speaker 3: 11:10 This Oxford vaccine, you vaccine candidate used an ad, no viral vector. And yes, it elicited multiple arms of the immune system. And one of the RNA vaccine candidates from Pfizer, there was a report from their clinical trial today too. And in that one also, it was multiple arms of the immune system. Just to be clear, it's not actually months after immunization at, at this point, the strongest data in the Oxford report was, um, people who got two immunizations, one at time, zero and one at one month. And then they were looking, uh, one month after the booster. And those were the people who I think look the best they are. It is accurate that there were people who also just got the one immunization and time zero. And then they looked at two months and there were responses and those people, but the people will get the two immunizations. Definitely look better.

Speaker 4: 12:09 So, you know, as we're talking about this, I wonder, you know, you say it's encouraging, but I wonder if it's too early still to get that excited because we do know that viruses can mutate. Um, and even with these neutralizing antibodies that this particular virus is producing perhaps several months from now, they could be ineffective. So what do you think are the next steps?

Speaker 3: 12:32 Lots of scientists are thinking a lot, right? About those questions. Um, anybody who wants to be skeptical about vaccines success at this point, COVID-19 vaccine success, you know, in the next, uh, six months, it has every right to be skeptical because if you just look at the history of vaccines, they're, they're incredibly successful, right? Like the measles vaccine has saved like 14 million lives just in the past 10 years. That's incredible, you know, and nobody even notices, but your average vaccine takes maybe 20 years to develop, right? So there, there are hard problems to solve. Usually they're very valuable to have, but they don't tend to be fast, but there have been things about SARS to end COVID 19 and newer vaccine technologies that do look like it's, it's reasonable. Also, if somebody wants to be optimistic, you know, that the data available so far from the nature of the virus and the nature of the immune system and the way most vaccines work and the clinical trial data so far about those immune responses and the protective immunity scene and monkeys, um, that they'll look, they'll look reasonable so far. I would say the two to me, actually, the biggest concern is the durability of the, of the immune response. Um, so far just for time, these vaccine trials have really looked at essentially immediately after vaccination, you know, it was in a month. Um, and you'd really like, of course, protective immunity to last, at least a year, you know, five years, 10 years, that's what most vaccines are capable of doing.

Speaker 4: 14:08 If the vaccine develops, do you foresee supply chain issues much like we have had in the U S with testing, what do you think a timeline might be for the vaccine to be developed? And then for it to actually be administered to all of the people? Um, not only in this country, but globally,

Speaker 3: 14:28 That's really a manufacturing question, which is not my expertise. Um, all I can say to that is several of the vaccine candidates, government companies, and philanthropic institutions have been thinking about this issue since at least March of wait a minute, how are you going to scale up the manufacturing and have enough have enough doses? And I know that at least a of the vaccine platforms have said that they, they would expect to have be able to have millions of doses by the end of this year, which is really quite soon. And with bigger scale up thereafter, they have already been working on it, right? They're not waiting until they have a successful final clinical trial to try and resolve that

Speaker 5: 15:13 As infectious disease expert. Shane Crotty speaking with KPBS is Shalina Chatwani

Speaker 5: 15:28 Businesses are moving outdoors. First. It was restaurants now, gyms and hair and beauty sandals are making the move as a survival strategy in the face of the COVID quarantine that has shut down so many businesses on Monday, sending America, Kevin Faulkner removed many of the restrictions on operating in private parking lots. Governor Newsome said this week, too, that the state has come up with new guidelines for barber shops and hair and nail sounds to operate outdoors. However, the professional beauty Federation of California plans to continue pursuing legal action against the state here to explain our Fred Jones counsel for professional beauty Federation of California. Thanks for being with us. Fred, thank you for having me and Corinne lamb, who is the owner of Salato salon and blow dry lounge in Rancho Bernardo. And she's also a member of the professional beauty Federation. Corinne. Thanks for joining us.

Speaker 5: 16:19 Thanks for having me. So it was Corinne. I wanted to ask you as a salon owner, given yesterday's announcement by the governor that personal care businesses can operate outside. Do you plan to open yourself outdoors? Absolutely not. Um, if, if I can backtrack a moment when the initial announcement came about that indoor services would no longer be an option. And that if there was the ability to adapt to an outdoor setting, I hit the ground running that same day. I had an outdoor setting that my landlord approved. I had purchased hundreds of dollars worth of equipment with the intention of being able to operate outside with a full list of services. The governor then announced that, you know, we could operate outside after some, some response from our board of cosmetology saying that will not be allowed. And with that came of course, a long list of caveats that included basically us only being able to offer haircuts essentially. And even at that, the haircuts would be a far lesser service than we've offered at an indoor setting. So for me, for example, haircuts make up about 15% of our revenue being able to operate outdoors and not offer shampoos or blow dries makes really difficult for us

Speaker 6: 17:50 To be able to charge that same amount for the service when it's not a full service.

Speaker 7: 17:56 So Fred sum up for us what some of the changes were that appeared yesterday in the guidelines for operating outside, um, that has made it difficult for you.

Speaker 6: 18:06 Yeah, so it wasn't just yesterday, as Corinne said, this all started a week ago, Monday when the governor, uh, implied that we could move our services outside, that was followed three and a half hours later by a state board of barbering cosmetology memo saying not so fast governor, we think it's illegal to do a services outside the licensed establishment. So the governor went to work, worked with County health departments with his state board and department super affairs, and came out with his announcement yesterday and in his, uh, posted protocols on the COVID-19 page. It doesn't say anything about limiting shampoo services or hair coloring, and sure enough, about three hours later, all 621,000 licensees in this state received an email from the state, from the department of consumer affairs, informing us that no, we will restrict these services. You will not be able to use any chemicals on the hair, including covering, and you can't even do shampooing.

Speaker 6: 19:05 We've had a lot of mixed signals coming from the Newson administration this last week. We didn't need more mixed signals. So yeah, this has been really tough. It was tough enough, frankly, Alison, to try to convince our licensed professionals who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in upping their game in their salon with PPE, plexiglass, separations, touchless pay points, they invested money. They didn't have to get their salons up to snuff, and now we're kicking them to the curb and telling them they can only do it out in the elements and the wind and the heat and the pollen in the air and air contaminations. It just doesn't make a lot of sense. We're safe. We can operate inside.

Speaker 7: 19:48 So Fred, let me just say that there does appear to be a growing consensus that operating indoors is not as safe as operating outdoors. Are you more interested in getting permission to operate indoors or to be able to do everything that a cosmetologist could do outdoors?

Speaker 6: 20:05 Yeah, I would resist that consensus. I'm not sure there is. There's certainly not within our industry. So our legal action was filed back on May 12th in Los Angeles, federal district court. So it long predated any notion of kicking our stylists out to the curb to do their services outside. So that really isn't part of our lawsuit. Uh, the grabbed women of that case, the grab them into the cases we believe we have science. We listen, Corinne has 1,600 hours of formal education and training. The bulk of which is devoted to health and safety. Cross-contamination disinfection protocols. She passed a two part state licensing exam, 85 of which is devoted to health and safety.

Speaker 7: 20:49 Corinne. May I ask you, um, may I ask you, cause it sounded as though you were prepared to open outdoors, but you want to be able to do everything outdoors. Is that your position?

Speaker 5: 20:59 It's not that we were excited by any means to be able to operate outdoors, but we have to do what we have to do at this point.

Speaker 7: 21:08 Okay. So Corina, I have another question for you, which is that you obviously have a lot of training in how to operate your business, but when it comes down to safety, operating at indoors, it's really as much about the customer's willingness to go with the restrictions as about the actual, um, providers, the business people. Um, how did you find your customers were responding when they were, when there were restrictions or have you just not been operating with restrict?

Speaker 5: 21:35 Oh no. We've absolutely been operating with restrictions. In fact, our re our restrictions are above and beyond the very basic guidelines that were given to us by the state and our state board of cosmetology. We've invested in protocols that are not required of us, but that we're the responsible solution for the circumstances.

Speaker 7: 21:54 And how have your customers responded to things like the need to wear masks?

Speaker 5: 21:58 Our customers haven't had an issue whatsoever with needing to wear a mask. Um, I haven't had any pushback. What would you say

Speaker 7: 22:05 To those who would say that salons are, are not essential to our survival? And in fact, may pose a threat to it.

Speaker 5: 22:13 We have to base everything that we do at this point off of fact. And I haven't seen a single study that has, has exercised any fact in that direction. So I say, show me the numbers.

Speaker 6: 22:28 And if I could just add just on that question, Allison is very frustrating for our licensed professionals, all 621,000 of them here in California, to be able to go to their grocery store and home Depot and Costco and Walmart, and see levels of precaution. So below what we implemented in our salons long, by the way before COVID, but even, especially after the COBIT a virus hit, it's very frustrating to hear that those are essential businesses. And when we are prepared to deal with this new era of pandemics, we have the formal education and training to deal with cross contamination and disinfection. So we just want to be treated like the licensed professionals. We are.

Speaker 7: 23:15 I certainly appreciate the survival instinct as a business person. This is key to your survival. Um, but I, I would ask about this question of whether in fact, the customers would be as fastidious as you and how you would be willing to enforce them

Speaker 6: 23:30 All the salons that I've dealt with. It has not been a problem. I've actually seen folks resist wearing a mask into a restaurant setting before we were kicked out to the curb or restaurants where, so I have seen it, but I haven't heard nor seen that being a problem in our salon setting. Corinne, are you planning to open up,

Speaker 5: 23:50 Are you planning to forget that until things change? I have no plans to open as it stands now. And if I can also include, you know, we are professionals with licenses that are mandated by the state with health and safety and sanitation guidelines. We're also artists, but at the core, our relationships with our clients are, are so invested. We cut people's hair off before chemo treatments. We see them go through marriages, divorces, having children. This is not something that we take lightly. These are people that we do have genuine care for. And so, although we are already mandated by the state and are at risk that losing our license, if we don't comply with these laws and regulations, we also care. Fred, what is the next step for your school?

Speaker 6: 24:41 We think he needs to embrace the science that is now endorsed by the CDC that we can operate safely in our controlled environment. We just don't think it's viable for the vast majority of our 53,000 licensed establishments to go out to the curb and perform these limited services. I don't think it's good for their clients. It's certainly not good for their bottom line. And frankly, it's a slap in their professional faces.

Speaker 5: 25:12 Thank both of you very much for giving us your perspective on this issue. Fred Jones is council for professional beauty Federation of California.

Speaker 6: 25:20 Thanks Fred. Thank you very much. Ellison

Speaker 5: 25:23 Lamb is the owner of Salado salon on a blow dry lounge in Rancho Bernardo. Thank you, Karine. Thank you. In April governor Gavin Newsome announced a plan to send one time payments to thousands of undocumented people across California. Now, with those payments mostly sent and spent KPBS reporter max Rivlin Nadler tells us the economic situation for San Diego's undocumented population remains desperate. A note to our listeners. We're only using some first names to help protect identities of undocumented people.

Speaker 6: 26:02 North park, resident, and Luis are immigrated here from Mexico. He'd worked at the same restaurant as line cook for six years. He was fired in March as the restaurant shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Obviously for my situation, it's kind of hard to find a job. I just know, like to jump on job and the job. So they just let me go by email. Luis has always paid taxes, but undocumented people are ineligible for unemployment benefits and his husband, an American citizen didn't get the stimulus check either. That's because they filed taxes. Jointly Louise began looking into relief funds for those laid off from the food industry, but to no avail. Then the

Speaker 8: 26:44 State said it would be giving between 500 and a thousand dollars to some undocumented people.

Speaker 3: 26:49 I was checking the news all the time when it's going to be there, when it's going to be days when it's going to be his, because I want to like have a little bit of money, you know? Yeah.

Speaker 8: 26:56 Nonprofit, Jewish family service of San Diego distributes the payments in the form of prepaid debit cards. They go to undocumented people impacted by the pandemic in San Diego and Imperial counties were around 7% of the state's undocumented population lives. The program began in may, immediately service providers across the state were inundated with calls. By the end of June Jewish family service had distributed $5 million in funds to 10,000 undocumented people in the region. Luis was one of them after waiting almost a month for it to arrive, he received a prepaid debit card for $500. His first type of assistance in three months

Speaker 3: 27:35 For buying groceries like Costco, Walmart, or the store just for basically was for food, food, food, food

Speaker 8: 27:42 Restaurant worker, and immigrant Rosalba was also laid off during the pandemic like Luis she's been paying taxes while she's been working in the United States for the past 18 years.

Speaker 3: 27:55 Sure.

Speaker 8: 27:55 He said it made her feel sad because there are community of workers who support this country with their taxes, but they don't have the same rights as citizens. They don't have the opportunity to take account of their contributions and that frustrated her. It made her angry because she contributes to this country. All that ended up getting a thousand dollars from the state through its emergency fund. It helped her pay her cell phone bills and buy cleaning supplies to stay safe during the pandemic. But it wasn't nearly enough to make up for her lost income. She was making $500 a week before the pandemic, and now her family is back in the same situation they were before.

Speaker 3: 28:37 [inaudible]

Speaker 8: 28:37 Well, the States fund helped over a hundred thousand undocumented people. The problems facing the States, 2 million undocumented people remain.

Speaker 3: 28:44 The demand was huge. You know, the States fund, our fund only have the sort of potential to hit a couple of hundred thousand people. So we knew the gap was going to be pretty large. And the goal was to essentially try to stop the bleeding for some number of families.

Speaker 8: 28:59 Kevin Douglas works for Grantmakers concerned with immigrants and refugees. The organization supplemented the state government's response with private donations to reach as many undocumented people as possible. During the early days of the pandemic,

Speaker 3: 29:11 Direct relief was an important and necessary first step, but it was just that it was a first step. There's a lot of systemic issues underlying, uh, the disparate impact of COVID on communities and who is impacted that really speaks to the need for sort of broader systemic change.

Speaker 8: 29:26 Green of the center on policy initiatives says without assistance, undocumented people were returned to unsafe working conditions and get exposed to COVID-19.

Speaker 3: 29:35 People should be clear that we're not doing anything except increasing our negative health risk for all us. We're seeing

Speaker 8: 29:42 Outbreaks of COVID and fields and other places where we know we forced undocumented folks back to work when we don't provide protections for them, because with many businesses unable to reopen because of rising numbers of coronavirus cases, the situation for San Diego's undocumented population without jobs or government assistance remains perilous.

Speaker 1: 30:04 Joining me is KPBS reporter max Rivlin, Nadler, and max. Welcome. Hi. Now you spoke with two people who were laid off from their jobs in the restaurant industry about how many of San Diego's restaurant workers are undocumented.

Speaker 8: 30:20 It's not really clear exactly how many of San Diego's restaurant workers are undocumented, but we know that there is a large amount of people who have no status or have mixed status or, or have the ability to cross the border to work in San Diego. So there's a lot of people who are vulnerable to this. We know one 10 workers in California are undocumented. So that is a huge amount of the workforce, uh, especially in San Diego where 7% of California's undocumented people, um, live.

Speaker 1: 30:50 What are some of the other industries that have seen big layoffs of undocumented workers because of the pandemic?

Speaker 8: 30:56 So in addition to the restaurant workers, you've seen people in factories laid off. You've seen people in the healthcare industry laid off, you know, people who are involved in non elective surgeries and not, you know, essential workers during the pandemic. Uh, you've seen people who are involved in the agricultural industry and of course the hospitality industry as well as is a big employer of undocumented individuals. And that is completely created as well. So you've created this scenario where large amounts of undocumented people have very little access to assistance, um, during a time where they could be out of work for months and months.

Speaker 1: 31:30 So did the state give only a single payment to laid off undocumented workers?

Speaker 8: 31:35 Not only, uh, did they only give a single payment, but this was actually to a very small amount of undocumented workers, right? It would take a huge kind of systemic change and a massive infusion of cash to get that amount of money to each undocumented worker in California, and would take a good amount of outreach. That being said, even within moments of the phone lines, opening for opening for this program, people were calling, showing the need for a type of program that actually puts money into people's pockets. Because again, they just experienced a moment where their income went to zero with absolutely no cushion and kind of no help on the horizon.

Speaker 1: 32:12 Just to reinforce what you said about the, uh, the number of people who were untouched by this relief program. The state debit card program helped more than 100,000 people, but there are 2 million undocumented people in California. What was the rationale for providing some relief for just a fraction of that population?

Speaker 8: 32:33 Basically just math. It would take a lot of money to get the, uh, amount of, uh, even just the $500 payments to all 2 million people. Um, of course advocates say there should be that money that goes to those people because they're the people that actually make California work that keep California fed and that keep its restaurants moving and it's hotels and business, and it's agricultural fields, uh, getting picked. So, you know, obviously they're an incredibly important part of the workforce. It's just basically with the state budget being what it is. Um, there was just not money in the budget to do that. And so people are looking elsewhere at philanthropy or larger structural changes to the tax system to actually allow these payments or larger structural changes to go into effect that will provide meaningful and lasting resources for this community.

Speaker 1: 33:25 More about the private donations that augmented the state funding for undocumented workers can undocumented people expect any more in the way of

Speaker 8: 33:35 Finds demand really far out stripped, uh, the amount of resources that the state and the private donations that we're helping augment augment the state's fund, uh, could provide. And so there are people right now on the wait list that are maybe going to be circled back to if the private donations are able to, to reach out to some more people and get, get more money. But right now, um, the prospects are a little dim for a round until legislators can meet in the next couple of months and try to iron out ways to shore up, um, these undocumented families before you end up with a really awful situation where people are not only out of work, but people are losing their homes. People are, um, kind of further exacerbating the States and those issues. And on top of that, working while sick, which is a huge problem, especially during a pandemic, you spoke

Speaker 1: 34:29 With dr. Kira green, she warned that desperation may force undocumented people into taking risks during the pandemic. What kinds of risky jobs was she talking about?

Speaker 8: 34:40 People have been taking jobs in places like, uh, poultry processing centers, uh, working in the agricultural sector in fields, uh, working in, um, food distribution centers at grocery stores, places where basically they fear speaking out for their own, um, working conditions, you know, PPE masks, sanitation, because they really do need the paycheck. And, and honestly, they're making this very grim determination that in, even if they get sick, they still need to come to work because they need to feed their family because they're not getting any other type of assistance. So it's just kind of a feedback loop of people are working because they need food and they need housing security, and they're helping to spread the pandemic at the same time. And employers are bringing them in and not asking questions because it's, it's incredibly difficult to get people to agree, to put themselves into such a risky situation. So it's a really kind of nasty feedback loop we're seeing right now

Speaker 7: 35:41 When people might ask if they're so little help coming to them from the United States during this time, why don't undocumented people return to their native countries?

Speaker 8: 35:51 That's not something I've heard people, um, count out Louise, who I spoke to said he was thinking about going back to Mexico. But that being said for somebody like Rosalba, you know, she has for us citizen children, uh, you know, who were born here. So she's not going to be leaving any time soon. Um, but the situation doesn't improve if she were to leave and go back to a place like Mexico or a lot of other, other undocumented workers in, um, California come from central America, um, that are dealing with their own not only pandemic, but even before then economic collapse, which drove asylum seekers to the United States in the first place with rising violence stemming from that. So you're, you're seeing basically, um, people trapped in, in an impossible situation where they can't really leave and even heading back to their home countries, wouldn't be the bomb economically or even health wise.

Speaker 7: 36:42 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, max Revlon, Nadler, and max. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 7: 36:59 Social media is a godsend and a curse during this pandemic quarantine time, it helps keep us connected and it steals our attention and great chunks of time that easily get out of control for parents with youngsters at home time, online is a mixed blessing too. On the one hand distance learning means time online can be educational, but on the other hand, how do you know where your child's mind is focused when they are screen scrolling? Dr. Delaney Ruston is a Stanford trained physician. Who's filmed Screenagers. Growing up in the digital age has been shown in hundreds of communities. She's recently started a podcast designed to spark conversations about how to help young people grow up screen wise and tech balanced Delaney. Thanks for being with us. It's great to be here. All of us, you know, adults as well as teenagers and kids can have a hard time tearing ourselves away from the screen once we've begun scrolling. But is there any reason to worry more about a teenager who's spending a lot of time online.

Speaker 9: 37:55 The data shows that for teens and tweens, when they have a lot of screen time that is associated with increased risk of having lower emotional wellbeing, as well as hits in terms of academics when they get back to school. So it is concerning when it is pushing out other things in their lives.

Speaker 7: 38:19 Are there some ways to spend time online that that engage a teenager's minded better ways than others?

Speaker 9: 38:26 Data has shown that the primary thing that youth are doing with so much of their time is consumption. They're scrolling, watching other people create, seeing other things. And we want to ensure that our kids are gaining skills to feel competent, because this is such a time of unease in their development. Yes. You know, to do the kind of work for parenting, it's gonna take some struggles. It shouldn't be a battleground, but there are ways that we as parents can help our kids to have time away from social media and video games.

Speaker 7: 39:06 Well, right. So what's a parent to do. I mean, um, you know, just telling someone that you're going to take away, their cell phone is not a good strategy, probably.

Speaker 9: 39:15 Absolutely. You know what I have seen for many years now, the way that schools do it, and frankly, how I was trying to get my kids to spend less time was a scare tactic. You know, this is going to ruin your brain. This is all these problems. And as a physician, I should have known that the data consistently shows that when we try to scare people into behaviors, it doesn't work. And it's the same here. So rather than a scare tactic, it's so much more about a shared tactic, so that it's about sharing stories and science and letting our kids know that we can see that this is important for them, but also it's important to take breaks,

Speaker 7: 39:57 Call it an addiction. Sometimes it feels like an addiction. Doesn't it? I mean, even just whatever age you are looking at a screen can sometimes get very addictive.

Speaker 9: 40:06 You know, I think as adults, we have that natural inclination to want to see what's going on to get the beings it's amplified with kids and teens that they're pulled for all sorts of reasons to be on devices. In fact, we know that the emotional brain, the highs actually feel higher. The pleasure dopamine release is in higher concentrations than, um, any other time in life, but it's not an addiction. I think that's really important because as a physician, working with many people that have addictions, where the whole definition is it's ruining, it's really causing negative harm in their lives. We're seeing that kids, if they have other things going on in their lives and they still are on Screentime a lot, then the data shows that they're much less likely to have any problems. The real concern is when they have lost losing their relationships, sleep a sense of self confidence. The very few percentage are actually addicted to the point where it's having all this negative in their lives, as well as that. They have no control over it. Our kids have some control, but they need our help.

Speaker 7: 41:25 You mentioned sleep. Is that a particular concern that a, you know, after they've gone to bed, kids are still scrolling. You know, the research is showing

Speaker 9: 41:34 Not only that there's a major sleep deprivation epidemic that impacts our kids and teens when their devices are in their room or they're on them too late in terms of the increased chance of risky behaviors, online and offline, emotional issues and challenges and learning. But, you know, what's really interesting is there's new data that shows that that connections in their forming brain is dysregulated, that they can scientists have seen on imaging studies or teens that are getting disrupted sleep as opposed to teens who are not. So having screened out of the bedroom is one of the number one things that I recommend to parents, and to even start that now in summer, to let kids know and teens know, okay, let's work on this together. Maybe you want to have one night on the weekend where you can have your screen in your room. You know, let's figure out together what time it comes out of your room and parents so often tell me how hard this is to regulate, to do this kind of work, but ongoing conversations, getting a friend to do the work with you. So you have someone to kind of go through the work. All these are necessary, things that can help parents to bring on these, uh, this particular rule that I think is one of the healthiest things we could do for our kids right now.

Speaker 7: 43:00 So you've made this movie Screenagers, which has been shown all over the country. And you've recently started a Screenagers podcast where you talk with teenagers about their use of the technology. What, what have you learned from them, from the teenagers themselves about the best way that they've found to, to regulate their own screen time?

Speaker 9: 43:19 I just heard from a teenager today, who said how she wishes that social media automatically turned off for all teenagers at seven at night, they're all struggling with this and they take time. Many of them take time off, but they want are they really, you know, I think do need our help. And they know that they both can get benefits from being connected and being distracted, but that screen time can really become a security blanket and an unhealthy way of coping with their hard, uh, emotions as well as other challenges. And so they have told me over and over that they need accountability and they need help in figuring out limits. They want to be involved, but for us as parents to just say, well, COVID here. Let's just let them do whatever they're going to do is really doing a disservice to them. The question is, how do we talk with them? That gets their more of their buy-in because it is to me the most important parenting challenge we have, but there's absolutely skills as parents. We can continue to get better at

Speaker 7: 44:41 Delaney. Thanks so much for your insights here.

Speaker 9: 44:43 Wonderful. It was great to be here.

Speaker 7: 44:46 That was dr. Delaney Ruston, who has produced a film called Screenagers growing up in the digital age.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

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.