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How will asylum work after Title 42 ends? No one knows yet

 December 20, 2022 at 4:10 PM PST

S1: All eyes on a Supreme Court justice regarding Title 42.

S2: This is just a very temporary delay. If he grants it , there'll be more wrangling in the courts if he if he does grant it.

S1: I'm M.G. Perez with Jade Hyneman. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Trying to slow COVID cases before Christmas.

S2: You don't need a randomized trial to know that a respiratory virus that aerosolized is blocked substantially , particularly two way masking instead of just one way masking , but mask help.

S1: Paying more for the water we drink in the future. And college students learn lessons from the late Tejano singer Selena. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The legal tug of war with Title 42 continues. Just days before the Trump era immigration rule was set to expire Monday , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the immigration policy will remain in place , at least temporarily. Title 42 allows border officials to use the COVID pandemic as justification for turning away asylum seekers without a hearing before an immigration judge. Elliott Bhagat has written extensively about all of this for AP News. He joins us now. Welcome , Elliott. Hi , Angie. You were up late updating your latest reporting , Elliott. Remind us about the specifics of Title 42 and what's happened at the US-Mexico border here as a result.

S2: Of migrants have been expelled 2.5 million times since March 2020 , when the Trump administration , the CDC specifically introduced , invoked this 1944 law , which allows authorities at the border to deny rights to seek asylum under U.S. and international law on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID. It applies to all nationalities , but in practice it's fallen disproportionately on those that Mexico will take back. That includes , of course , Mexicans , Guatemalans , Hondurans , Salvadorans , more recently Venezuelans. They're the ones who have had the most difficulty getting in to claim asylum. The others have received exemptions for the most part. So but the ones that have been held back are the ones that are expected to come across when Title 42 ends. And you asked about you know , last night was actually a little bit earlier than that. Chief Justice John Roberts agreed to a request by 19 Republican led states to keep Title 42 in place for now. It still may expire as scheduled at midnight. But he asked. He said it was on hold. We allowed the law , the Biden administration , to to file a brief by 5 p.m. Eastern today. And , you know , all eyes are on him. Really. It's just going down to the wire. It would be like an emergency stay. So if it you know , I'm assuming that he if he does allow it to keep it in place , it would just be for a few days or maybe a week or so until there's more discussion.

S1: So , Elliot , let's back up for a second.

S2: So Joe Biden , when he was campaigning , well , he really didn't address Title 42. He did dismantle a lot of Trump era policies , though , right out of the gate , most most notably the Remain in Mexico policy , which made asylum seekers wait in Mexico for their hearings that US immigration court. The one policy he did keep in place is Title 42. Now his CDC director on April 1st said that there was no longer a public health justification for this policy and said it would end on May 23rd , giving giving about a month and a half to prepare for the end. It's a tortured legal history. But but the Republican led states got a judge in Louisiana to keep Title 42 in place , then in May , and that that was pretty much down to the wire. Then another judge and another case in Washington , DC decided on November 15th that it would end December 21st , which is tomorrow. So it's just a lot of back and forth. The Biden administration has , in theory , said that Title 42 should end in April , and they're still holding that position. They did argue they did appeal this ruling in November. But as for on an argument that they should be able to invoke this authority in the future , they're not opposing the dismantling or lifting of Title 42 for now. On Wednesday.


S2: If you're not detained , the four years as the average to get a decision on asylum. The backlog has since grown to more than 2 million cases. So it's really it's I'm sure it's longer than four years. And the other thing that's happened is more recently is the Border Patrol , because they're so overwhelmed , they just released people on parole that parole them and tell them to report to an ICE office wherever they're living in two months and then it falls on ice to do the the paperwork for a court case which takes more than 2 hours a person , which is a lot when you're talking about these numbers. So they're you know , as of March , it was taking at least two years just to get on the docket , just just to get a case number. So that's two years plus an additional four or five , six years for your case to be decided. So you're looking at probably six years. Wow.

S1: Wow.

S2: Some are detained , but very few really , especially. And there are limits for how long you can detain people. So for the most part , they are living in they don't stay in San Diego very long. But just just because it's not a major destination. But they fan out to Florida , New York , Boston , L.A. and just live their lives.

S1: Local organizations have been trying to help with the backlog of immigrants who are stuck.

S2: I was at Jewish Family Service of San Diego , which has been operating a shelter in San Diego since October 2018 , has served leave. It's more than 110,000 migrants. They work with families. Catholic Charities got into this last year , I believe. So it's basically those two groups that are helping people with motels when they're when they're released by the Border Patrol or Customs and Border Protection , and then helping them with their travel arrangements , their food showers , just sort of getting getting their feet on the ground. And most of them fly to the eastern part of the country. So they they tend to fly out of the country , but they may take buses or get picked up by someone. But those organizations that they exist in every border city , they tend to be faith based , but not always. They're very critical to , you know , to this process.

S1: Some border communities and I'm thinking about El Paso , Texas , in particular , have declared a state of emergency , anticipating the end of the policy.

S2: And they were already El Paso was , you know , relatively quiet. And then it became very , very the busiest place on the border in September or October. So the state of emergency , I don't really know what that means. Probably has something to do with funding , but they like every other place on the border and probably more so because it's so busy right now are preparing for more people.


S2: And all those people. Vast majority are coming up to the border. They fly to Nicaragua and come up to the U.S. border. Peruvians , Colombians , Haitians. For the most part , they have they're not being affected by Title 42 , but other nationalities that have been expelled to Mexico for the most part. They're the ones who have had a hard time getting in. And if Title 42 is lifted , they'll be able to , you know , cross. Presumably. Presumably. We'll see how this works , but they'll be able to come and claim asylum. So that's Mexicans , Guatemalans , Hondurans , El Salvadorans and Venezuelans.

S1: So the clock is ticking. We are waiting on the Biden administration's response and then we will know what happens next. Is that right ? Yeah.

S2: I mean , I think it's really all eyes on Chief Justice Roberts for now. You know , I don't know what the administration can say. They'll repeat their arguments , but all eyes are on him for now. And then , you know , after that , like I said , this is just a very temporary delay if he grants it. There'll be more wrangling in the courts if he if he does grant it. And it'll it'll just be , you know , a roller coaster ride that it's been for the last year or so.

S1: Stay tuned. I've been talking with Elliott Baggett , reporter for AP News. Elliott , thank you.

S2: Thank you.

S3: Many people are celebrating the holidays with gatherings and letting their guard down a bit when it comes to COVID 19. But cases are rising , variants are spreading , and there is a lot more than COVID going around. So what should people be doing to avoid infection ? And do methods of the past still work today ? Joining me is Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Dr. Topol , thanks for being here.

S2: Always a pleasure to be with you. We got plenty to talk about today. Yes.

S3: Yes. So , I mean , we keep hearing the term triple demic , which pertains to RSV , COVID and the flu.

S2: And that , of course , not just COVID any longer , but we're hopefully peaking out the flu and RSV season. In addition to that , of course , we've got strep A , we've got monkeypox. So we have no shortage of contagious problem here. But I think the principal ones are the respiratory viruses , because it's one of the worst flu seasons we've had in decades. And certainly COVID hasn't gone away , as you already touched on in your lead.

S3: And let's talk about the latest dominant variant for COVID.

S2: The good is that we've had so many infections and vaccines and boosters that we have an immunity wall build. And so while the variant that we're dealing with now , it's called BQ 1.1 , it's drawn the rise together. We BQ one into the dominant in the U.S. and here in San Diego , and it will continue to spread and grow in terms of dominance. The good thing is that even though that variant has the most immune evasion of variants since the pandemic began , along with another one that's mainly in Asia called HPV , that our immunity wall is holding up reasonably well. The issue , though , that we're seeing is the vulnerability of seniors where the hospitals around the country and certainly here as well , are seeing a disproportionate high number of people , 65 and older , that are getting COVID and require hospitalization. So that's the thing that we have let our guard down , is the people at high risk who are not getting a recent booster. And a very important CDC study last Friday showed that this is 80% or greater reduction of hospitalization. And the thing of emphasis that is keep in mind is that that's compared to people who have had infections in vaccines and boosters. So this is a 80% is a great amount of protection. We just aren't getting our seniors boosted and we've got to do that.

S3: You know , one line of defense against spread is testing. Now you can order new COVID tests from the USPS. Our old test still good at detecting these new variants.

S2: Yes , they are. And indeed , the ones that are being sent out for free , which I was amazed I got it within two days of sending in the request , but they had their expiration date extended a year. So while we'll probably need them in the weeks ahead , they're they're very good to detect the current variant. And they should be used. And that's one of the other tips about gatherings that you mentioned is that if people do get a rapid test within hours of gathering , that'll help screen out some people who don't even know they have COVID. That is , their symptoms haven't really started yet or they're asymptomatic , but they have a positive test. So it isn't perfect , these rapid tests , but it does help.

S3: Our PCR test still better.

S2: But the problem with them is they stay positive for a very long time. So I don't know that they're the go to first test to get because they're not as easy , they're not as inexpensive , simple , but they're certainly useful as a backup or a confirmation. So that's , I think , probably their best use today. Unfortunately , we don't have a good handle on cases here in San Diego or around the country because a lot of people are have symptoms that could be construed as a cold or flu or even some with our history. It's all a mishmash. And people aren't doing testing and we don't have home flu tests. We don't have any RSV test. So the only one that we have right now are COVID tests and that at least helps sort out that question.

S3: Remind us of the latest guidance on isolation for both people who had a positive COVID test and for those who've been exposed to the virus.

S2: Yeah , I'm glad you asked that , because that's another really good use for the rapid test is you've had COVID , even though the CDC says five days , if you're feeling okay , it's okay to move about. But that's not a good recommendation. It's not based on evidence. The evidence shows that usually it's seven days or possibly eight , sometimes longer. When you use the rapid test for two days in a row to see that you're negative. And then you can be assured that you're not going to be a spreader. So that's something that the CDC really hasn't done a good job. In fact , their guidance is something that could be held as responsible for increasing spread. Unwittingly , of course , they didn't do this intentionally , but people are leaving isolation too early.

S3: You're also a big proponent of introducing a nasal vaccine.

S2: I can't get into detail , but the nasal vaccine is the best shot we have shot. It's actually a spray that you inhale to block infections. We have masks , of course , but they're they're not perfect by any means and there's reluctance to use them. And particularly , it's hard to use them for a holiday gathering and you're having a meal or party. I mean , you know , it's hard to wear a mask throughout all that , of course. So we need something more than masks. And there's only one other thing we can do , which is a nasal vaccine , which already is out in India and China. And there are 100 of them around the world that are being tested. And soon that we'll have readouts on on several of them. I'm confident we will have new vaccines that work. The only question is do they work for a few months or is it longer ? They should work against all of the variants. And , you know , this is something that would be very exciting in their ability to start to block infections and the the whole chain of transmission. So I do think this is inevitable. We have to do this because COVID will be with us for the years ahead. We may still see an whole nother family beyond Ramakrishnan That will be a threat to us. That's why it's really imperative that we push on getting these vaccines.

S3: And you mentioned masks. I mean , with all that's floating out there , particularly as people gather.

S2: It just sends off the , you know , a sense to many that they're being told they have to do something. I think we have to appeal to people that there is no question that you don't need a randomized trial to know that a respiratory virus , that aerosolized is blocked substantially , particularly two way masking instead of just one way masking , but mask help. And I certainly use them. You know , if I if I go to a place where people I have no idea their status , they haven't been tested. I think it's really a helpful defense , even though you may be in a group of people that aren't wearing masks , that that having that on will give you some extra protection.


S2: You know , when you're in airports and public transportation. Many countries around the world have pretty strong guidance for that public transport. When you're on a plane these days when I've flown , I've seen , you know , a large proportion of people are not wearing masks. That's a problem. Yes , It's true that during flights , the filtration in the plane , it helps reduce the risk. But if you happen to be sitting next to people that have unknowingly have COVID or , you know , they haven't done the rapid testing that that's appropriate to make sure they're not infectious after COVID. You still could get it on a plane. So I recommend wearing a mask. It's hard when you're on a long flight , but it'll protect you and it'll help.

S3: All right. I've been speaking with Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Dr. Topol , thanks for joining us and happy holidays to you.

S2: Happy holidays to you and everybody at KPBS and all your listeners.

S3: You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Meg Perez. Maureen CAVANAUGH is off. Water bills in San Diego are about to go up , and that increase is due in part to $274 million in upgrades at the Carlsbad desalination plant run by Poseidon Resources. The County Water Authority's board approved the upgrades to the plant's seawater intakes last week. The board says they are needed to protect marine life and meet California environmental regulations. Joshua Emerson Smith is senior environment reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He's been reporting on this and joins me now to explain what's happening and how ratepayers will be impacted. Joshua , welcome.

S2: Happy to be here.



S4: To the facility's.

S2: Intake system. So it sucks in all this seawater and then pumps it up to its reverse osmosis plant. And when it does that , it needs to make sure that it's not killing fish and other marine life , fish , eggs and various things. California has a bunch of strict rules around this , and it is in the process of overhauling its intake system to meet those guidelines. Previously , the Encina power plant was stationed there and it sucked in the water and then gave it to Poseidon as an afterthought. Now the Encina plant is gone and so Poseidon has to meet the state's regulations on its own.


S2: And the cost that the water authority is going to buy that water for will go up as a result of these needed upgrades.

S3: And desalinated water is already expensive.

S2: Currently , we pay about $2,800 an acre foot for this water. And that's the technical jargon that water folks like to talk. An acre foot is enough water to cover an acre a foot deep or about 326 million gallons. And so costs about 20 $800 an acre foot for desal. Whereas I like to talk about what the water authority sells water for to its 24 member agencies , such as , say , the city of San Diego , and for treated water that is about $1,800. So desal water is $1,000 an acre foot more expensive than what the water authority sells to its local member agencies.


S2: So that's your major cost there. The electricity that it takes to to run the plant. But the you know , there's other things like these needed upgrades and just maintaining the facility and all of those things put together have added to a very costly. Although as the supporters of desal will tell you , a drought proof supply. So the idea is that we can get this water , whether it's snowing in the Sierras or water is flowing through the Colorado River.


S2: There they're signed a contract with Poseidon , a 30 year contract that goes through 2045 , I believe. And so they're locked into this deal for the next few decades.


S2: I told you it was about 2000 dollars an acre foot that is slated to increase to nearly $4,000 an acre foot by 2026. And people were a little shocked , shocked by the price tag specifically. Some of the water managers in Rainbow in Fallbrook suggested that maybe we should try to sell some of this water to other parts of the state where they're facing severe shortages , even more so than we are here in San Diego. And there was some talk that they would look into that. So far , the water authority hasn't made any substantive moves to explore that idea.

S3: Environmental groups have long been critical of the desalination plant. You spoke to someone from San Diego Post Keeper.

S2: And that is something that the county is doing now or cities around the county are doing now. We have the East County Water Purification Project. The city of San Diego has its pure water project and so on. And they say that that is a better way of going about this , more environmentally friendly and less costly.

S4: So when.

S2: They saw this high price tag.

S4: Associated with the desal.

S2: Plant , they didn't hesitate to call it out.

S3: The bottom line for most people is how this is going to affect their water bills.

S2: And overall rate increases at the water authority are somewhere on the order of four , five , 6% a year. You know , then you have to tack that on to what happens at your local agency , right ? So local agencies also have their own costs. So you might see a water increase on any given year , six , 7%. The increase the what desal is going to tack on to that is anywhere between half a percentage point and maybe 1.5% on any given year. So it will have a pretty significant increase for ratepayers. However , we should also remember that depending on where you live with all these different investments we're seeing now , especially in water recycling as well , you're going to see some pretty high increases. I mean , the city of San Diego was saying it may have to raise water rates , something on the order of I believe it was 16% over the next two years. So desal is just one more factor adding to those high water bills that San Diego owns are perhaps begrudgingly getting used to.

S3: I've been speaking to Joshua Emerson Smith , senior environment reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Joshua , thank you.

S2: Good to be here , as always.

S3: The Colorado River is in crisis. 40 million people depend on its water and the supply is shrinking due to climate change. Policymakers met in Las Vegas last week to discuss its future , but didn't emerge with any new commitments to significantly cut back demand. That leaves hydropower facilities in jeopardy at the nation's largest reservoirs. KUNC Alex Hager was there.

S4: There's no shortage of attention in the Colorado River Basin. The cities and farms that rely on the river's water need to start using less. And those who decide how it gets divvied up are caught in a standoff in a Las Vegas casino conference center. That all went down in person.

S2: There's no substitute for , you know , being face to face. It's a lot easier to talk a little smack , calls some people some names , you.

S4: Know , when when you're not looking them in the eye. That's John Anslinger , head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Here at Caesar's Palace , people from Wyoming to Mexico are gathered to get a sense of the river's future. And the word on everyone's lips is collaboration. Colorado's head river negotiator , Becky Mitchell , says there needs to be a collective solution to this collective problem.

S5: I think there is some heavy optimism that hopefully everyone will come to something that we can all agree on. But it is going to take mean real cuts to everyone.

S4: Agreement is easier said than done. Mitchell herself placed blame downstream states along the river's top half. Colorado , Utah , Wyoming and New Mexico say their water supply is at the whims of rain and snow. Well , the lower half can rely on steady , legally required deliveries every year. So Mitchell says those lower states should be the first to make cutbacks.

S5: We all have to be able to sell this. And it is really hard to sell something when there are winners and losers.

S4: Meanwhile , the lower basin has its own big water demands in cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles , but also sprawling fields of crops. About 80% of the country's wintertime vegetables come from farms in the lower basin. Water managers say the next few weeks will be critical. They're trying to add their $0.02 before the federal government makes some potential changes to the river's current rulebook. Bill Hazen Camp is with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. We really are focusing on this 45 days and then if we're not successful , then you can ask me where we're headed then , because that's something I don't even want to think about right now. But water managers will have to think about it and soon. Elizabeth Cobley is a political science professor at the University of Nevada , Reno.

S6: We're dealing with trying to respond to crisis while also thinking about long term sustainability planning for the basin. And to me , that is creating so many challenges.

S4: Cobley says there isn't much new clarity on where necessary cutbacks to water use will come from.

S6: Even though we agree , yeah , this is a problem and we need to do something about it and it's not getting better. We haven't yet agreed on who's really responsible for doing any of that yet.

S4: A longer term plan could come by 2026 when the current rules for managing the river are set to expire. And while that process is just beginning , groups historically excluded from river management want their voices to be heard.

S2: We want to have true and meaningful consultation , and we want to really have nation and nation , but it really doesn't exist.

S4: Shawn Sharp , who is chairman of the Ute Indian tribe on the Uinta and URI Reservation. He and many of the other 30 tribes in the basin say they want more out of states that promise them a seat at the table.

S2: To sounds good in rooms. But what happens on the ground and for a person like me who's actually in that rumble , I always tell people , yeah , you're you're you're seeing a narrative.

S4: That's not factual. And while that negotiating table is being set , the river itself is only getting drier , putting the pressure on everyone who relies on its water to adapt. In Las Vegas , I'm Alex Hager.

S3: This story is part of ongoing coverage of the Colorado River , produced by KUNC and supported by the Walton Family Foundation.

S1: I'm M.G. Perez with Jade Heineman. You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. 27 years after the death of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla , PEREZ her legacy lives on through music and a college class taught at San Diego State in the spring semester. Earlier this year , I visited the class and also met someone from the younger generation who considers Selena a role model for life. Basically.

S7: Basically.

S4: I heard a song on the.

S2: Radio and I really fell in love with this song. Blah , blah , blah.

S1: Georgette is a drag queen created by a young man born George Ngozi Ledesma in a small town just north of Mexico City. Georgette sits at her kitchen table with a powder puff and makeup , preparing to become her alter ego. Selena , the Tejano superstar who died tragically but helped a confused ten year old Mexican boy live and find his true identity.

S2: I had a lot of bullying when I was a kid because of who I am. I feel great and I love what I do.

S1: Jorge immigrated to San Diego more than 20 years ago and has since settled into happiness and confidence. He credits to Selena her songs and her spirit.

S2: Singing speak Spanish so well when she was an interview. But always you can see that she was giving her best. And this is my first time having an interview in English and I'm trying to keep my best. So it's we have something.

S4: In common with that.

S1: And that is the sounds of Celina are now part of a college curriculum. Professor Nathan Shea Rodriguez pitched the idea for Selina class to the administration at San Diego State University pre-pandemic. It is now a permanent elective offered in the spring semester. Dr. Nate , as students call him , is a fan and fellow Texan who grew up with a heavy influence from the Tejano singer. He built the class syllabus with 16 weeks of learning modules that use Selena as a bridge to Latino culture , media representation and personal identity. There are field trips for students , too.

S4: They get to go out into Barrio Logan and they get to see the Selena mercado for Walk the BLOCK. They get to go to as a brewhouse for the release of the beer. They get to go see drag shows and they get to conduct an ethnography , write about it , take pictures , videos , sound.

S1: And ethnography is the study of people in their own environment , which includes the LGBTQ community. The next two weeks of class are focused on learning that goes boldly down the rainbow road.

S4: Selena is a huge inspiration to the queer community. Tons of drag queens will impersonate her. A lot of queer people such as myself , find meaning in her music. And so we're going to learn about how we can queer not just Selena's music , but the Latinx culture.

S1: The term Pocha is an important vocabulary word featured in class discussions. Aperture is a person caught between two cultures , not completely able to speak Spanish and not completely comfortable in the English speaking culture. That was Selena and Karina. Buzzati is an SDSU senior who can relate. Kareena's Mexican parents thought they helped her by taking her from the barrio and enrolling her in schools with mostly white students.

S7: I couldn't find myself , so I'm like , Am I like the only one that looks different ? Am I the only one that doesn't have long hair or or blue eyes ? So , like , Selena actually help me identify who I am now.

S1: Natalia martinez is one of Karina's classmates. She was only three weeks old when Selena was killed.

S5: I never really got to have her present , but I had her music and I think that's where I was able to create Selena in my head in the sense of how this is like someone who I want to have as my role model.

S1: Which brings us back to Georgette and the little boy from a little Mexican town who used to dance around his living room , imagining what he could become someday. Listening to the music of Selena.

S2: The thing that I learned from her is to be always respectful , kind and sweet. That's how I do every time I'm onstage.

S1: That's a legacy set to music that will never die. At the height of her career , Selena was a superstar caught between two cultures. She was just crossing over successfully to the English speaking music world when she died. She is not forgotten by the millions of fans who still admire her life and work. One of those fans is SDSU professor Nathan Shay Rodriguez , who created the curriculum to teach students about the late pop star and her legacy. I spoke with Professor Rodriguez in the spring. Here's our conversation. I don't. Or more women.

S4: I come from a Mexican-American family household and they spoke Spanish , but they wanted me to speak English so that I would do better in school. So growing up , everyone around me was speaking Spanish. I never felt really culturally connected to the Mexican side or to the American side , and I did not know how to kind of form my own identity. I didn't see anybody in the media that looked like me , that sounded like me. And so I always felt kind of trying to play both worlds and never really achieving either one correctly. Then along comes Selena , who was singing in Spanish , she was talking in English , she was fumbling over her words , and I was like , Wow , she's just like me. So I started listening to her music , watching her interviews , listening to her on the radio and on those interviews. And I thought , you know what ? Here's somebody who is showing that there's not one correct way to be Mexican-American , to be Latina. And so I started kind of , you know , using her as the cultural template to form my identity.

S7: Bailout is not going away. Steve Matheny , what's not being say it isn't Bob Thomas.

S4: But it was kind of parallel to the things that I was feeling and going through my own upbringing.


S4: And so there's a lot of people who are dealing with different dualities. It could be like her Mexican-American know she was dealing with two cultures , two languages. I think a lot of people are struggling with the duality of different parts of their identity. So she shows that you're able to kind of balance them in your own particular way that makes you feel comfortable and makes you feel like a person of yourself , rather than trying to have to fit into some sort of box.

S7: By the way , most anyone not thinking is involved.

S1: But you use the term pork chop.

S4: And since then , it's kind of been used as a term of empowerment and a reclaimed term to basically describe somebody who is comfortable with their identity and they're in between English and Spanish , doesn't really speak the best of both , but is who they are. Exactly.

S1: So adoration and love for a pop star is one thing.

S4: We're right here between Tijuana and San Diego. Selena grew up in Texas , and she was right there along the Mexican border as well. And so I think for us here in San Diego , there is a very much a need for us to connect culturally with this duality. That's Mexican-American culture.

S7: Until now.

S4: San Diego State University is an HCI Hispanic serving institution. And when I first came here back in 2016 , in the Journalism and Media Studies department , I noticed there was a lot of Latino students , but there was not a lot of courses or curriculum that spoke directly to Latina that and they were searching for themselves. And so I thought , well , we need a course here that talks about , you know , Mexican-American representation , Latinx representation in the media , the ability to reach students where they're at , but also kind of get them involved academically and professionally and connect those two worlds. Know. And. Maybe. And Selena is that perfect cultural anchor. She kind of bridges those two things together. Students have an affinity towards her to want to learn about her and then apply those things to the current media landscape that they're already so much involved with.

S1: I'm going to assume most of your students were not even alive when Selena was performing. Not at all.

S4: You had the movie that came out in 1997. You had the Netflix series that came out in 2020. We're in the middle of a pandemic. Everybody was watching streaming media , so they connected through Selena through these mediated representations. And in fact , it's interesting that you bring up that none of them were alive , which is very much true. A lot of their recollections about Selena isn't how she looks physically or how she did look. They remember Jennifer Lopez's portrayal of Selena or even the actress who plays Selena in the Netflix series. That's who they remember. But they connect through the music and they connect also through her culturally that she speaks Spanish and English and the fact that she loved fashion and that we see her all around us today in Target and Forever 21. On T-shirts , we see her Mac cosmetic lines. So I think she's living around us all the time. She's there in the pop culture , and it's just something that you can't ignore. And the students , of course , know That.

S7: Just hit me on the split on song and it made me and my. You here to get that us one week old. Young. Now you see on Jelly Man's double caught up on me going on to it. Did he get physical ? So let me go young get.

S1: To that point. Her music has impacted so many diverse communities , particularly the queer community and drag queens especially. I would imagine she's probably one of the most imitated performers in the drag Queen community.

S4: And I think it goes back to this conversation about identity and duality. And I think queer people , right , are sometimes trying to figure out their identity in very specific times. They're growing up , you know , and they're having this internal conversation with themselves of who am I ? What am I ? And I think Selena is another perfect example of that kind of cultural template of looking at these dualities and these binaries. I mean , not that identities are dichotomous and one or the other , but they can all exist at the same time. And sometimes we have 17 to 20 different facets of our identity. And I think from a queer perspective , we can see how we can take someone like Selena and look at her and she symbolizes so much of who we are culturally , especially if we are Mexican-American or Latin X or Spanish speakers , and how we can use her as kind of that archetype to create a persona. Her hoop earrings , her red lipstick , her purple sparkly jumpsuit , and the way she dances , moving her hips to the cumbia. It's fun , it's culturally relevant , and I think it's also nostalgic in a sort of a way for a lot of queer people.

S7: Not me , but.

S1: What would be an ideal song you could point to ? That would speak to what we're talking about.

S4: Probably something like I'm not Prohibit you though , which translates in English to prohibit it Love in the song. She never really says if it's a man or a woman. She just talks about two people from two different societies who are in love with one another and it's prohibited by their parents , is prohibited by society. But love endures and love endures all. And I think for the queer community , love and acceptance has always been something bear against all odds. That's a theme amongst a lot of people who are queer.

S7: I like believing in what God has done. Yes. And he still does it.


S4: To remember that the impossible is always possible. So I think it always be one about perseverance. It would be one about loving who you are and being authentic. And I think just , you know , being happy and fulfilling your own personal destiny , whatever that might be.

S1: Perfect way to end this conversation. I have been speaking with SDSU Professor Nathan Shea Rodriguez. Dr. Nate , thanks for joining.

S4: Us , which has got to.

S7: Be from the finest and will start those goals in quotes. That can't be. W last year Hutchison reported that. I would believe. I'm more or less guarding against some authenticity. That's just. I really. The second. And the unit on Rampart nearly got. Well , I believe. But you saw Mercedes. Did you see that ? Believe it or not , the. A young teenage girl. I'm pleading for less. Oh , yes , he does. I believe. Was the only.

The legal tug-of-war with Title 42 continues. Days before the Trump-era immigration rule was set to expire, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ordered a temporary hold on the policy. Then, many people are celebrating the holidays with gatherings and letting their guards down when it comes to COVID-19. But, cases are rising. And, water bills in San Diego are about to go up, and the increases are due in part to $274 million in planned upgrades at the Carlsbad desalination plant run by Poseidon Resources. Next, policymakers met in Las Vegas last week to discuss the future of water supplies from the Colorado River. But they didn’t emerge with any new commitments to significantly cut back demand. Finally, 27 years after the death of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla Pérez, her legacy lives on through music and in a class taught at San Diego State University.