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Attorney: Biden Administration Makes Concessions To Ease Asylum Restrictions

 May 19, 2021 at 11:20 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Restrictions on asylum seekers are eased at the border. This has been done informally, and now it looks like this is taking more of a formal sheet. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Hyman. This is KPBS mid-day edition. How San Diego intends to confront Asian American hate crimes, Speaker 2: 00:29 Ask together the community and our office for the community to rise up and report so that we can protect everyone and make sure that bullies are stopped. Speaker 1: 00:40 The GI film festival presents the story of a black serviceman in a war on friendly ground and medical tourism is explored in the KPBS podcast, port of entry that's ahead on midday edition. Speaker 3: 01:00 In a matter of months, the recognition of anti-Asian violence and racism has moved from the fringes of social awareness to the forefront of American politics. Earlier this week, Congress passed a bill to counter the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. And just yesterday, California's attorney general, Rob Bonta identified, tackling the issue as one of the key goals of his office. 40% of all anti-Asian hate crimes in America between March of 2020 and 2021 occurred in California. And as the nation continues to reconcile with the issue, the pressure is on local leaders in law enforcement to address the ongoing violence. Joining us today is San Diego County district attorney summer Stephan da Stephan. Welcome. Speaker 2: 01:45 Thank you. Thanks for covering this important topic. Speaker 3: 01:49 So recognition of this issue was slow going at first, but has since gained a lot of momentum to become one of the leading issues this nation is looking to address, what is your office doing to address the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes here? Speaker 2: 02:02 Well, we began addressing this early on. We noticed even as early as April and may of 2021, the COVID pandemic began and some of the false narratives were being put out there that encouraged hate against the API community. We noticed a rise in incidents and then a rise in hate crimes targeting our API communities. We track this data very carefully. So we talked with the different communities that are affected, and we worked with law enforcement and inside our office to take the action that has actually become, uh, a, a model that is being looked at to enhance transparency and increase communication and reporting to law enforcement. This Speaker 3: 02:57 Is a federal bill, but what the impact be locally? What tools will it provide your office with exactly, uh, to prosecute these crimes? Speaker 2: 03:05 Well, the bill, uh, tries to support the reporting by communities and also the training and additional resources for law enforcement and prosecutors to tackle this issue for us here in San Diego, fighting hate crimes has always been a priority for me. So I aligned my resources to meet that priority. And in that regard, we've tripled our hate crimes prosecutions in San Diego County. And so we establish an online platform. First, I believe in the nation to be able to report these receiving over 125 wards. Speaker 3: 03:51 It made prosecuting hate crimes difficult. And is there anything in this legislation that changes them? Speaker 2: 03:57 There's nothing I could see in the legislation that directly changes, uh, the challenges in, uh, fighting and prosecuting hate crimes, but it does provide the ability to do more training, have more resources, more expertise, which will help in the long run. The challenges with hate crimes is that it is under-reported. It is one of the most under reported crimes. And one of the reasons is the definitions and the clarity about what is, and isn't a hate crime. And that creates barriers Speaker 3: 04:38 This year. Your office drew some criticism from community advocates for the decision to prosecute the assault of an elderly Filipino woman as elder abuse, rather than a hate crime. Given the recent developments on addressing anti-Asian hate. Do you think your office will take any different approaches and classifying hate crimes in the future? Speaker 2: 04:58 Sure. We would classify hate crimes under the law aggressively. And clearly as we have been doing that three cases that were submitted as hate crimes, we've charged as hate crimes. Other cases that were submitted as known hate crimes, like the incident, uh, involving the egg blowing and pushing of black lives matter protesters in Imperial beach, we were able to develop the case into a hate wines. Some cases under the law was still not meet the hate crimes definition, but they will need other definitions that allow us to take account and accountability. Like the elder abuse statute. Sometimes a San Diego has 13% of our API community and they are sometimes victims of crime because they are victims of those crimes. And not necessarily because of their race or ethnicity. And we still handle those cases and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. We just cannot do it under the hate crimes allegation. Speaker 1: 06:15 The early focus on these crimes was in other major California cities, particularly in San Francisco and Oakland, since then the organization stopped AAPI. Hade has collected dozens of reports of violence in San Diego County. How have you responded to that? And how do you think local recognition and action on the issue has changed in recent months? Speaker 2: 06:38 It is absolutely encouraging and, and uplifting to see the work that the API and API antihero coalitions have done in San Diego. This is exactly what we need. It is about community partnership. This is how we beat. This is hand in hand bringing the law enforcement resources, bringing the expert prosecutors and victim advocates from the DA's office and working hand in hand with the communities and the voices of the communities, because the reality is that the under-reporting, uh, for us to come up and rise, it is by having the community speak up with a central message. I've walked, I've been on these panels with the API community, antihero coalitions. And, um, the thing that we together bring to the forefront is if you allow a hate crime to happen against you and don't report it or hate incident, that abuser will move on to another victim. And the next time it could be worse and it could be a victim that is not able to withstand it can cause lifelong trauma. And so we asked together the community and, and our office for the community to rise up and report so that we can protect everyone and make sure that bullies are stopped. Bullies do not stop on their own. You have to stop. Speaker 1: 08:20 I've been speaking with San Diego County district attorney summer, Stephan da Stephan. Thank you. Speaker 2: 08:25 Thank you so much. Good to speak with you. Speaker 1: 08:37 The Biden administration is easing up on harsh restrictions against asylum seekers at the border. As part of a settlement with the ACLU, the government will allow about 250 people a day to cross the border and begin the asylum process and obscure a law enacted by the Trump during the pandemic has virtually shut down the asylum process for the past year, leaving thousands of asylum seekers stranded at the U S Mexico border in Texas, and here in San Diego, migrant advocates say the change in policy is a good start, but the details remain unclear. And joining me is KPBS reporter backs, Rivlin Nadler, max, welcome, good to be here. How will this new agreement by the Biden administration change what's been going on at the border Speaker 4: 09:26 Since the pandemic began, people have not been allowed to cross the border in any formal way to, um, apply for asylum. People have been going over the fence or passing in the desert. And some of those people have been allowed in to pursue their asylum claims inside the U S this will more formalize the process and, and builds kind of off a, an ad hoc process that several non-governmental organizations and aid organizations and lawyers in a Tiquana and South of the border have been doing, which is getting people who are really vulnerable in, in places like Tijuana and Waratahs and getting them to a port of entry so they could enter the United States. This has been done informally, and now it looks like this is taking more of a formal sheen. Speaker 1: 10:10 Oh, well. So what category of asylum seeker fits the most vulnerable criteria? Speaker 4: 10:15 Uh, so who would be the most vulnerable? Well, obviously that goes to, um, people who have, uh, gender or sexual identities that make them targets. Uh, you have families, um, with especially young children and people with serious medical conditions. Speaker 1: 10:33 And how about that law that shut down the border under the Trump administration, will that remain in place? Speaker 4: 10:38 So it's not exactly a law. It's a code that has been applied by the Trump administration and continued by the byte administration known as title 42. The center for disease control. Uh, pretty much from day one has said, this is not in any way gonna help, uh, prevent the spread of COVID people go across the border daily, formally the virus has gone back and forth across the United States border since the beginning. So basically this title 42 is really vulnerable to legal challenges and something that the American civil liberties union has been effective in, in challenging. So that's something that the Biden administration really wants to make sure doesn't happen is that the ACLU strikes down title 42 in its entirety and reopen the border and establish, uh, an asylum system along the Southern border. Once again, as is the United States international obligation, Speaker 1: 11:29 But is entitled 42 ostensibly for, because of the pandemic to keep people from coming into the United States. Speaker 4: 11:37 That's extensively. What the, uh, rationale has been in the United States has said, it's going to keep title 42 in place throughout the coronavirus pandemic. And whenever that might end, if it does in fact end, Speaker 1: 11:49 What's been the reaction to this change in policy announced this week. I believe both sides of the immigration debate have problems with it. Speaker 4: 11:56 So, I mean, if you're coming to it from a, an immigrant rights standpoint, the fact of the matter is that the asylum process in the United States has been halted it's in its entirety during the COVID-19 pandemic and had been significantly curtailed even before then. So basically I saw somebody, um, describe it as means testing asylum, which is basically picking out the people even before they cross, that will be allowed to apply for asylum. When asylum is a rate that everybody has. And the sole requirement is that you just have to be in the U S to, to claim it. So basically people who are coming out from that angle are really upset that this is codifying something that was made by the Trump administration. On the other side, you have people who say now is not the time to bring in asylum seekers into the U S especially during a pandemic. And that these numbers, um, you know, would have a significant impact in these border communities. But as we know, many of these families don't stay in these cities, uh, for much longer than 72 hours. Speaker 1: 12:53 How was the border crossing of immigrant families being handled here in San Diego? Speaker 4: 12:58 So there are several organizations working South of the border and on both sides of the border, working in shelters, in Tijuana, uh, groups like a low trow lotto, border angels, Jewish family service, who are identifying families that, you know, they'll give the names to a customs and border protection, or in this new system, maybe the ACLU to forward to DHS who will then pre-clear them to enter at the port of entry. I was there two weeks ago when a family was going through this process, when a customs and border protection agent had their name on a list and allow them to enter the U S to claim asylum while several other families who came to the port of entry at the same exact time, because their name was not on the list and they had not been identified and they had not been pre-cleared were not allowed to enter the U S so there's a lot of families who are waiting for this process. Speaker 4: 13:45 And a lot of NGOs kind of working nonstop to identify who would qualify for this. And like I said, it's ad hoc. And for those families that don't get through, they now have that really difficult decision that we've been seeing along the border over the past several months, where families will self separate South of the border, um, meaning that they will send their children ahead alone, because we knew unaccompanied children are being accepted into the U S one part of this policy is to kind of discourage families from doing that by adding this release valve. And as we see the numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the Southwest border have been declining or leveling out for at least a month right now. So even this informal start of this program might have helped lessen those numbers and just general seasonal migration patterns. We're going to begin seeing, uh, once the main numbers come out and especially this month numbers just going down, because that's normally what happens at around this time of year. Speaker 1: 14:37 I've been speaking with KPBS reporter max we're of Lynn Nadler and max, thank you. Thank you. Speaker 3: 14:53 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. Gay troops have been able to serve openly in the military since 2011. When the controversial don't ask don't tell policy was repealed, but many who were expelled for being gay before the repeal still can't get veterans benefits. Now States are passing laws to partially address the issue. Deseret Diorio reports for the American Homefront project Speaker 5: 15:20 Advocates for LGBT service members estimate as many as 114,000 were discharged for being gay between world war two. And the repeal of don't ask, don't tell some of them received other than honorable discharges cutting off their access to state and federal veteran's benefits. Several States like New York, New Jersey and Colorado have passed laws to restore state military benefits, and others are considering it. Speaker 6: 15:48 This needs to be corrected at the federal level as well, but at least at the state level, if you were an LGBTQ veteran and you received an other than honorable discharge because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you deserve state benefits, Speaker 5: 16:03 Colorado democratic state, Senator Dominic Marino. He helped write a new law that restores state benefits like education opportunities and military burials, but that still leaves major benefits like full BA healthcare. And the GI bill out of reach States cannot upgrade military discharges. Speaker 6: 16:23 Ultimately, it's really a federal issue, particularly if people are seeking healthcare under Tri-Care, or if they're seeking all those other benefits that needs to happen at the federal level. Speaker 5: 16:35 Chris has considered a federal version of the state bills. Several times. It would offer blanket discharge upgrades to most veterans who were kicked out just for being gay, but it hasn't gone anywhere. Jennifer Dane is with the modern military association of America and advocacy group for LGBTQ service members. Speaker 3: 16:55 We've been fighting this fight for a really long time. You know, we put it in the national defense authorization act every year, or at least try to, um, and then it gets stuck in their ways and means committee and it comes back usually then it's too expensive Speaker 5: 17:06 In Colorado legislators who voted against the law, had other problems with extending state benefits to veterans with less than honorable discharges, Republican representative, Richard whole turf argued on the house floor that it would undercut discharge decisions. The military has already made and rules are rules. Speaker 3: 17:26 The expectation for all service members that, that you will follow general orders. You will follow command policy and command directives. You will follow the UCN J ad is, is written at the time of the service. Speaker 5: 17:40 That argument doesn't work for Ashton Stewart. He runs a program called Sage vets, helping older LGBT veterans get access to benefits. Legislators Speaker 2: 17:50 Are hiding behind the integrity issue. It's because they don't want to address the issue. That's really happening here, which is discrimination. Speaker 5: 17:57 Stuart helped craft new York's restoration of honor law. He says, as more States passed similar laws, he hopes it will pressure the federal government to make the same changes. Navy veteran Lewis Miller was kicked out for being gay in 1992. He says he didn't try to upgrade his other than honorable discharge. Until recently Speaker 2: 18:18 I was fighting a losing battle. I didn't try because I knew I couldn't win. Speaker 5: 18:22 Now. Miller's got one. When his application got one of the first approvals after new York's law took effect last year, Speaker 2: 18:29 They gave me a bad piece of paper, but you can't take away what I did there. That's inside of me. That's my honor. You can't take away. My honor. What you took away was my recognition of it. The restoration of honor, in New York state, that's what it does. It gives me some recognition. Speaker 5: 18:46 Miller says he's always been proud of his service. And now he's proud that New York state recognizes it too. I'm Deseret Diorio on long Island. 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. Speaker 1: 19:15 Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we told you about a new policy at the San Diego humane society. The nonprofit is releasing cats back to the streets, instead of keeping them to be adopted or euthanized. Now KPBS investigative reporter Claire Traeger says that practice is ramping up despite a lawsuit from animal rights activists, Speaker 5: 19:38 There could be as many as half a million stray cats on County streets, according to the San Diego humane society to deal with all these free roaming fee lines. The nonprofit is running a program where feral cats are brought in spayed or neutered, and then released back to the streets in March. They expanded the practice under what they call a community cat program where even friendly cats will be released. Speaker 7: 20:06 There has been a lot of, um, frustration on the part of small nonprofits and individual animal rescuers who are seeing this, this trend towards, um, abandoning friendly domesticated cats on the streets. Speaker 5: 20:28 This doesn't sit right with Brian peas and animal rights activist and attorney he's filed a legal complaint against the humane society to force them to stop. He and his clients have no problem with managing populations of feral cats by trapping and bringing them to a clinic or to the humane society to spayed or neutered, and then returning them to their house. Speaker 7: 20:50 But then when you look at what's actually happening, when you have candidates that they know are, um, were previously owned or were abandoned by the owners or cats that, um, are in dangerous areas or cats that are injured. And just certainly should not just be put back out on the street. And that's exactly what they're doing. Speaker 5: 21:08 The city of San Diego between July, 2019 and December, 2020, the humane society released more than 1300 cats to the streets. That's almost double the number from the first 16 months of the program. Gary Weitzman, CEO of the San Diego humane society says it's more humane to release cats rather than keeping them in a shelter. Speaker 2: 21:32 Those cats are held here for medical exams. They're in holding cages there. Um, no matter how easy we make the environment for them, they are stressed to the max. Now consider those same cats did really well outdoors being cared for by the community. Um, being enjoying the environment, not in danger, those cats did really well. Why don't we just stay in there to them, prevent them from getting rabies and distemper and have them go back and enjoy their lives. Speaker 5: 22:03 He added that any cats with a sign of ownership, including a color or microchip would not be released, but it's not always easy to tell whether a cat has been previously owned or not. So says Pam Harris, a long time animal shelter volunteer. Who's working with peace on the legal complaint. Speaker 8: 22:22 They say that, um, any cat with sign of signs of ownership will not be put into the community cat program. So for example, if a cat comes in microchipped or wearing a harness, um, that cat won't be put back, however, how do most people who have indoor cats, don't put colors on them and don't put harnesses on them. You know, probably most of the cats who are pets are not microchipped. Speaker 5: 22:49 The safety of the cats is one concern. The other is the impact they have on the overall ecosystem. Specifically bird populations, Jim Pugh conservation director of the San Diego Audubon society describes the cats as an invasive species. Speaker 7: 23:08 Environmental impacts. You know, we know it shows catch, takes several burns a month. Speaker 5: 23:15 His ideal solution to the stray cat issue would be to create giant warehouses where cats could live. Speaker 7: 23:23 We're saying, you know, there's daycare centers for pets, you know, where they have indoor facilities and they have toys and exercise for them and stuff. If they're going to keep animals, they ought to be kept indoors. Joining me is KPBS investigative reporter, Claire track of sir. Claire. Welcome. Thank you. Speaker 8: 23:42 Before we get to the humane society releasing the I'm going to ask Speaker 1: 23:46 You for some background on this story, how do these stray cats get to the humane society who picks them up? Where are they found? Speaker 9: 23:55 Yeah, so, I mean, there are a couple different ways. One thing is there are rescue organizations who for a long time have been going out and trap feral cats, bring them into a clinic somewhere, spay and neuter them. Uh, the difference here is that the humane society is now working with these organizations to, to provide the space neutering and, and help them. And then they're also expanding so that people who may be, just see a cat out on the street or in a parking lot or wherever who brings in the cat. Now that cat also is going to be again, spayed and neutered, and then released back back where it was found. Speaker 1: 24:38 One of the people you spoke with talked about indoor cats, not having collars sometimes, and therefore not being identified as having a home, but how would such a cat end up at the shelter in the first place? Speaker 9: 24:50 Right. Well, you know, indoor cats obviously can escape. They, they might get out and just then be wandering around and, and not know where they are. The other thing is that people abandon their cats. Um, sometimes maybe if they're moving or they just can't take care of them anymore. Unfortunately. And so those cats that are really not used to living outside the claim is that the humane society is still treating them as outdoor cats because they don't have any of those signs of ownership, like a color, as we said, or being microchipped. And so then they will release those cats really, who will not be able to fend for themselves. Don't, you know, don't know how to live outside, like the more community cats do. Speaker 1: 25:32 So even though data shows more cats have been released by the humane society in the last year, isn't the, the goal, the overall goal of the program, really to reduce the number of stray cats. Speaker 9: 25:44 That's the idea is that by bringing in feral cats and spay and neutering them, those cats are not able to reproduce. And so eventually the population goes down. I don't know that there's any way to really accurately measure the population of overall stray cats. I don't know that we know whether the program is working, whether the numbers are really going down, maybe quite yet, maybe, maybe we will be able to know later on. Speaker 1: 26:13 And our critics suggesting that the humane society stop the spay and neuter program, or are they suggesting that the society keep the federal cats at the humane society for the rest of their lives? Speaker 9: 26:26 Right? So they are very clear to point out that the critics have no problem with doing this spay and neutering and releasing for feral cats, like truly wild cats that can not live in a home, can not be around people. You know, basically they're, they're wild animals. They aren't meant to be inside in a home with owners. What they are contending is that the human society shouldn't be using this with friendly cats that could otherwise be adopted. Like if they were in the shelter, someone might come and adopt them. So they don't want to stop the program overall, but they do want to put a halt to it, to figure out a better way to tell which cats are friendly and which ones are not, and that they want the humane society to stop releasing the friendly cats. Speaker 1: 27:15 Okay. So the other aspect of your story, the kind of impact that strike hats have on the bird population is the number of birds decreasing in any way? Speaker 9: 27:27 Well, again, I think it's a little bit hard to know, you know, whether the number of birds is decreasing due to cats. Uh, Jim Pew with the Audubon society said at one point they were working on doing a study with SDSU that would measure the impact of a stray cats on the local bird population. But he said that they actually didn't want to get involved with that because it was too controversial. Um, there is a study from the Smithsonian, uh, and the us fish and wildlife service that found overall in the U S outdoor cats killed between 1.3 and 3.7 billion birds each year. So it seems like, yeah, they do have, um, an impact, but I don't know if they're causing the, the population of birds to, Speaker 1: 28:16 And don't feral cats also keep a check on the road and population. Wouldn't that be a good thing for the ecosystem? Speaker 9: 28:23 Yeah, I would think so. And to be clear, I don't think that anyone is really saying, um, you know, that we should get rid of all feral cats. I don't think that's possible. Um, so I don't, I don't think we really have to worry about, you know, no cats, meaning rats and mice are running rampant through the streets or anything like that. Speaker 1: 28:41 There's the cat warehouse idea. We heard about any other solutions from people who see feral cats as a problem. Speaker 9: 28:49 Well, you know, I, again, I don't think that the warehouse idea is really realistic or anyone's talking about that, that happening. Although, you know, we do have the, uh, convention center one Oh one Ash street or something like that. Um, but I think the kind of unspoken idea here that I have had some bird conservationalists say is that the feral cats should be trapped, brought in and euthanized, um, not released back to the streets. But again, I don't think that anyone is, is really considering doing that. Speaker 1: 29:21 I've been speaking with KPBS, investigative reporter, Claire Trag is her Claire. Thank you. Thank you. Speaker 10: 29:35 The GI film festival is underway this week in San Diego, bringing with it a host of films that present a diverse spectrum Speaker 3: 29:42 Of identity perspective from within the military experience entries in this year's festival, explore themes such as women in service post-traumatic growth and the black military experience in the film, a war on friendly ground viewers are given insight into the complex perspective and experience of a black servicemen who returns to civilian life only to face the perils of discrimination. Joining us today to discuss the film is director King Jackwell Martin King Jackwell Martin. Welcome. Speaker 11: 30:13 Hi, thank you for having me here. I'm super excited. Yeah. Speaker 3: 30:16 We're glad to have you. You enlisted in the U S army and moved up the ranks to Sergeant and then an unforeseen and challenging incident bought you face to face with the age old discrimination, born of ignorance and racial hatred. What happened Speaker 11: 30:31 Basically on October 24th, 2005, I was coming home from doing a uniform inspection for my soldier, PFC Carlisle. I was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I lived maybe like maybe three, four miles away from base on the way home. There was an officer in my neighborhood, um, patrolling and supposedly he was supposed to be out there looking for a white male flashing little kids. As I was driving through the neighborhood, I was well-known in my neighborhood. I used to play semi-pro football and I used to take all the women and children to the football games. They would hold the down markers. So as I'm riding behind the officer, the apartment is shaped like a rectangle. Um, he started driving towards my apartment complex, um, as he entered the parking lot, but he went in the rectangle first and then I went beside, behind him and we eventually became parallel. Speaker 11: 31:18 So when we came parallel, I acknowledged them by tipping my head, um, in his police report, he said that he felt like I was teasing him. So I parked my car. I get out my car and I'm walking towards the door. I hear a car pull off. And so I hear tires, screeching, and I turned around and I'm like, what's going on? I see a police officer running towards me. He's like, Hey, you, Hey, you come here a here for a noise violation. He says, well, give me your license and registration. Um, he looked at the paper license and he was like, well, what the hell is this? And I said, well, do it. If you just calmed down, you can see I'm a soldier. I just got back from Germany. He's like, you will not address me as do. And next thing I know, he slams me into the ground. Speaker 11: 31:52 He starts punching on me. And so we, while he's punching and hitting me, all the women and children from the neighborhood started to come out. My ex comes out and she's like, Oh my God, what are you doing to him? And I reach out with one hand. I'm like, stay back. I'm okay. I'm okay. You know, because I didn't want anything to happen to her. So the officer became more irate when I told her I was okay, cause maybe he felt like maybe he wasn't in control or something. So he brings out a Canon Mason. He uses a whole can of mace on me. So I followed my training. And so, because I didn't react like the normal civilian would react to being pepper sprayed. He assumed that I was on drugs and then he became even more violent. He started kicking me and my stomach and everything else. Speaker 11: 32:30 So I understand why the other police officers arrived to the scene, the way that they arrived to the scene. But when you arrive to the scene, you're supposed to use your training and analyze the situation of what's going on. The, his supervisor, Ron gets out the car and he tells deputy Joseph Clark to get her, um, get her black. Hey, she has pictures of me. So he runs up on my ex-wife. He throws her into the car. She puts her hands up behind her head and she drops her cell phone. They take us downtown. That's like one of the most humiliating moments in my life to watch my wife get beat up in front of me as a husband, to walk into a police station in my military uniform and get fingerprinted to take mugshots in my military uniform to sit back and watch my wife get fingerprinted and, you know, watch her take mugshots. I mean, to this day, I still cry over that situation because it's humiliating. Speaker 3: 33:22 This experience changed your trajectory and led you to create this film a war on friendly ground. Tell me about, Speaker 11: 33:30 Honestly, we did this film before the Georgia Florida situation. Um, what inspired me was Mr. Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan from the fruit belt station story and Colin Kaepernick, taking a knee and putting his football career on the line. Um, we have companies that say black lives matter, but then kind of still can't get a job, but yet we have other people that drink kill people, take advantage of women and they're still in the league. I don't, I find it horrible. So I didn't think anyone wanted to actually hear my story. To be honest with you. Um, honestly, um, I have PTSD and I'm traumatized because I questioned God. Why did you allow me to still be here? Why is it so many other people survive this situation? And why am I still here? So I kind of have survivor's guilt. So my goal for a warrant from the grounds is to build a bridge between the public and the police, because we have two entities that have to live together that have to work together, but they're, they're strangers. Speaker 11: 34:26 They don't know each other. And then we wonder why we have so many situations where it collides. That's why, when you see my book on the cover of the book, I have the American flag. I actually have the real picture of the officer on top of me. And they just did it in a nice artistic way, but I chose bullet holes. I chose bullet holes to be the stars because I feel like that's the new hanging back in the day. People were hung in the streets and people used to come out to wash the hangings. Well, nowadays it's just on social media and it happens so much that we become desensitized to it. And so for me, I never want to be so comfortable because of so many people that sacrifice their life for me to even have the comfort that I have today. So I feel like it's my responsibility to create change. Speaker 3: 35:12 One of the themes of this year's GI film festival is the black military experience. Do you feel like that perspective has been particularly overlooked in film or, or more importantly in real life? Speaker 11: 35:24 Yes. A hundred percent. And the reason why is because sometimes people can't digest the truth of the black experience. Sometimes it's people feel guilty because of how African-Americans are treated or how soldiers are treated in the military. And when you tell the truth, that means you have to confront yourself and look in the mirror. And sometimes people have a difficult time doing that. And in conversations with other friends of mine, people are scared of her avenge, but we don't want more things. We just want equality. And so, I mean, I know they just pass the Asian crime law and I think crime built. And I think that's amazing. I think that's beautiful. How do we do that for ourselves? Because we've been going through this for four or 500 years, how do we create that? How do we, I mean, we don't have to reinvent the wheel, but how do we take that same thing to have the same type of protections or more? Speaker 1: 36:14 I've been speaking with King Jackwell Martin director of a war on friendly ground, which screens this Friday at the GI film festival King. Thanks so much for joining us. Speaker 11: 36:25 I'm so grateful for the GI festival. I really, uh, I never thought I would be in this situation. So I want to give a big kudos to the GI film festival for giving me a platform, um, for me to be able to compete for best student film, for me to be able to compete for best military actor in a film. I think that's so amazing because the day that I was on the ground and getting beaten, I never thought that a festival like this would accept someone like me. So I'm so grateful for this festival. I encourage anyone to submit to this festival to be a part of this festival. It's really, truly amazing. I went from getting beat up and wrongfully facing 10 years in jail to becoming an actor, to writing a book to actually went into film festival. So you can't tell me that one situation controls your life. Speaker 11: 37:12 You are still in control, no matter what you go through. And so I have a quote that I just want to end this whole conversational. If you die today, would you get an, a plus on life's report card and only, you know, the answer to that question, but if God blesses you to see tomorrow, you better live like an extra credit and I'm just living like an extra credit. And that's why I'm here at the GI film festival. And I'm super happy, super grateful for doing this interview with you guys. And thank you guys for blessing me. Speaker 1: 37:41 This is KPBS midday edition. I'm worrying Kavanaugh with Jade Heinemann before the COVID-19 pandemic, we told you about a new policy at the San Diego humane society. The nonprofit is releasing cats back to the streets instead of keeping them to be adopted or euthanized. Now KPBS investigative reporter. Claire Tresor says that practice is ramping up despite a lawsuit from animal rights activists. Speaker 12: 38:09 Eventually we found the pharmacy. Aaron was looking for, it was actually sort of hidden in the shadow of one of the huge new medical centers being built at the border. And you can hear it in the tape. The unrelenting drone of construction was everywhere around us. Revisiting the steps, advice. Aaron recognized the pharmacist. I need some lenses, Speaker 10: 38:39 Lantus pens. I know if I buy in bulk, it's a cheaper price. Speaker 12: 38:46 The pharmacist is a Mexican American man who told us he's lived on both sides of the border. Hence his perfect English. Speaker 10: 39:01 No, Speaker 13: 39:02 Just the one five-pack that'd be fine. Speaker 12: 39:06 His name is Rodrigo Romero and he says, Aaron's not the only one who saw the vice video and then searched them out into Quanta. Speaker 13: 39:14 We actually have quite a few, actually got a few phone calls and stuff after that. Um, Well we had quite a few people saying like, Oh, we saw you. And then I had phone calls from, um, uh, labs and stuff that you're like, Oh, we do research with diabetics and stuff. Um, in San Diego stuff like, Oh, would you mind if we send patients and stuff and refer them to other, like send whoever you wanted to? Absolutely. Speaker 12: 39:37 So Rodrigo had to call over to another pay pharma location to get more insulin while we waited. He told us more about the medical tourism industry in the Quanta. He said, the reason insulin is so much cheaper in Mexico. Isn't because it's a different, like cheaper or crappier product. Speaker 10: 39:57 Okay. Speaker 13: 39:58 Yeah. It's the same time that it's patented. It comes from the same labs, all, all of that. It's just, you know, the difference, the government negotiates prices here, Speaker 10: 40:08 You have a better negotiating government Speaker 13: 40:12 Because the government doesn't negotiate them over there, over there in the U S it's just, it's privatized. They let the pharmaceuticals set their prices and go straight to the, um, to the companies. And then they set their prices on what they want to sell it to you. And you kind of just stuck there and here it's negotiated down by the government. And after that, that's the price you, you can't mess with. Like once we get it, we can't mess with it. We can give a discount maybe, but we can't bump it up. Speaker 10: 40:35 Yeah. Speaker 12: 40:40 Basically whether the said Mexico has fewer rules and regulations when it comes to getting drugs on the market, but more regulation when it comes to how those drugs are priced, Speaker 13: 40:53 Then you have the support of the government helps a lot. The government really sticks his hand in trying to keep prices down for the common people. It's not just profits it's they really look out for the, uh, the citizens here. Um, and obviously, you know, that spills over and, and benefits, uh, wherever it lives, like across the border. Speaker 12: 41:15 So yeah, this is why so many Americans come here to take advantage of these cheaper prices that are set by the Mexican government. Rodrigo said pretty much all of the new construction we were hearing that day was to accommodate the flood of medical tourists. Speaker 13: 41:35 So all of this is just going to be medical tourism, and it's, you know, you walk across the border, do what you need to, and you head back. If you drive, they have the medical lane, um, where you get the passes. So you don't have to sit in line for three hours. You just kind of come to your thing and head on out. So we've seen the boom, um, everything that's happening here is very recent in the past few years. It's just, you know, all of a sudden it built up enough. Um, there was enough demand. There was enough profit where they could finally invest in, do something to make it world-class. So, yeah, we're, we're, we're kind of going through it. All right. Now Speaker 12: 42:09 Rodrigo told us that insulin is by far the most in-demand medication. His us clients are buying Speaker 13: 42:16 A lot of stuff that I'm surprised. You know, you would think most of the people are just like becoming from San Diego and stuff. I've had people tell me, like, um, you know, we came from Florida and I was like, Florida, like, yeah, it's cheaper for us to do the flight, the hotel and all that stuff. Come get our treatment, fly back than it is to, uh, just go see our doctor there in our hometown. I was just like that, that one really blew my mind. I'm like, that's not a cheap flight. And then the hotels in San Diego aren't cheap either. Speaker 12: 42:40 So just how cheap was the insulin. Aaron was about to buy from Rodrigo. At first, he quoted her $12, a vial, which was ridiculous, really affordable. Speaker 10: 42:51 That's exciting. It's only $12. It's unbelievable. $12, $12 compared to 110 in the U S it's 10%. Where's the 90% going. Who's who's taking the 90%. Speaker 12: 43:08 But then when Rodrigo went to ring up the insulin, the price shot up big time to $20, a vial, which is almost double. Aaron was not stoked about the sudden price change. Speaker 10: 43:22 Um, I'm feeling a little duped here. Speaker 12: 43:25 Rodrigo explained what happened. He said, small price fluctuations throughout the year are normal. Speaker 13: 43:30 Usually the pattern is twice a year. You get it. You see a little bit of, um, um, sometimes it drops, which is weird, but, um, that's the way it goes. Speaker 12: 43:40 Well, the Rigo said those bumps typically happen right at the beginning. And then again in the middle of the year. So since we crossed in January of 2020, Erin got the higher price, but the price tag was still way lower than it is in the U S so Aaron went ahead. And Speaker 10: 43:59 So I'm getting 10 vials for 20 bucks, each 10 vials for 20 bucks each it's still quite a deal. And I'm going to be pissy about, I almost got them for 12 once. And that was Aaron of Diego, mom, Speaker 1: 44:32 And port of entry hosts, Alan Lillian Thall crossing the border to buy more affordable insulin at a pharmacy in Tijuana, you can hear the full episode and more episodes in port of entries, new medical tourism series, Or you can find port of entry on Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts. Speaker 10: 45:22 [inaudible].

The Biden administration has agreed to let about 250 people a day through border crossings with Mexico to seek refuge in the U.S., part of negotiations to settle a lawsuit over pandemic-related powers that deny migrants a right to apply for asylum. Plus, the House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday to address the increase in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. And troops were expelled for being gay before Congress changed the law in 2011. Though many still don't qualify for federal veterans benefits, they now can receive state benefits in New York, Colorado, and other states. Plus, the San Diego Humane Society has ramped up its controversial policy of releasing cats back to the streets, despite a lawsuit from animal rights activists challenging the practice. And the GI Film Festival is underway this week in San Diego, bringing with it a host of films that present a diverse spectrum of perspectives from within the military experience. Finally, the Port of Entry podcast continues its series on medical tourism with a story about two women who go on a journey to find more affordable insulin across the border in Tijuana.