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San Diego County residents stand up to hate after mass shooting

 May 16, 2022 at 4:52 PM PDT

S1: A vigil to address white supremacy and gun violence after a terror attack.
S2: It's very scary just to walk down the street not knowing if someone just going to ride by and shoot you because you're black.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition.
S1: And varying reaction to one superintendent and her words about Asian students. Plus the story of young adults who are aging out of their parents immigration application. That's ahead on Midday Edition. A white terrorist shot and killed ten people and injured three more in Buffalo , New York , on Saturday. The incident happened at a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood , and 11 of the 13 people who were shot were black. The FBI is investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an instance of racially motivated violent extremism. People across the nation are coming together to fight against violent hate crimes , including here in San Diego. Joining me to talk about the fight against gun violence and hate crimes is Bishop Cornelius Bowser , director of Shuafat outreach. Bishop Bowser , welcome.
S2: Thank you for having me.
S1: So you are organizing a protest tonight against gun violence and white supremacy.
S2: This is an issue that we have been dealing with for years in regards to having a national database to address and track , do the background checks on those who buy guns so that we can prevent gun violence like this from happening. But also , we need to understand that we are addressing the hate right that centers around with race and guns. And we look here in America , you know , there is a history of racial violence , especially against black people. You go all the way back to slavery and even after slavery. And in every era , you will see that there have been racial violence against it. But I believe now one of the problems that we have is it is being perpetuated by , you know , on the political arena.
S1: In our own community right here in San Diego. We've seen a rise in hate crimes. They nearly doubled last year. And just last month , a teen was stabbed in a hate crime.
S2: And from the perspective of dealing with race and so on is for hate has always been , I think , you know , coming out of the pandemic , COVID 19 , and with the stress that a lot of folks are dealing with , I see not only with racial hate , but I see this hostility towards each other in our communities everywhere. Right. And so when you have hate and racially and racial violence , that seems to escalate because people , you know , are on the edge. Right. And because of that , it creates a space for people who wants to commit violence against someone else. You know , folks start doing that. And so that's one of the problems that we have today is that we have these spaces that are provided for people who have hate , you know , like on on the media outlets , different things like this. I believe people are being fed right in their minds this hate. And so when they see someone , they commit violence against that individual. And because of the for lack of a better way of saying it , the political arena and the talk that is being perpetuated in regards to racial hate and things like conspiracy theories and replacement theories , especially when it comes to dealing with black people in regards to , you know , wanting to replace or disempower white people and so on. So these theories are out there and these conspiracies are out there and people really believe these conspiracies. And because they believe these conspiracies , they are committing violence against one another and being allowed to do that. And then with the access of guns , you have so many guns that are out on the streets today that I always say everyone. But then someone will say to me , Well , not everybody , I don't have a gun. But you have to assume that everyone has a gun because you have so many guns out on the street. So everyone has access to guns. The people that have no self-control don't know how to deal with their anger. And so it's reflected in our communities , whether it's a shooting or stabbing when it comes to racial , racial violence against one another. And so but I think that , you know , with the social media and these platforms that people are able to go on and be fed. This hate will be fed these conspiracies and they start believing these conspiracies and start acting on these conspiracies. And that's why you see in certain lanes when it comes to racial hate and racial violence , you see what happened in Buffalo. And it's also reflected here in the city of San Diego , in the county of San Diego. It's very scary just to walk down the street not knowing if someone just going to ride by and shoot you because you're black.
S1: Last week , an appeals court overturned California's ban that prevented people under the age of 21 from buying semiautomatic rifles. It was a ban born from the board of Poway shooting in 2019.
S2: And if it was kidnapped by liquor at the age of 18 , that individual , he or she should not have that opportunity to buy a firearm , whether it's an assault rifle , a handgun assault , a 2021. I do believe that that can you know , when you have individuals that are not really mature. We know that a young person's mind is not fully developed until age 25 or 26 years old. And so to allow an 18 year old , a 90 year old to get possession of a gun , that can feed into the problem that we're already dealing with. So , yes , that ruling really does hurt us when we talk about trying to prevent gun violence from happening in our community , it feeds into that violence.
S2: You know , when you talk about law enforcement or police and so on. And , you know , I'm thankful for the federal government and their surveillance and really watching these extremists and these racist groups , white supremacy groups that are out there that can commit harm against folks. But I think on a local level with policing , I think , you know , the focus is more being on policing the black community or looking at black and brown communities. That's where the crime is and where they focus on a saturated , saturate and police officers in those communities versus focusing more attention on white supremacy and on these white groups. That's right here in the city of San Diego that are very violent , very dangerous. And more focus should be on them versus the same way they put focus on crime and gangs in our communities. They should be focused on white supremacy. And these hate groups that are here in the city of San Diego , in the county of San Diego , also , which I don't believe they're really doing that at this time.
S1: You know , what kind of trauma do these terrorist attacks and hate crimes have on the community and how far reaching as it.
S2: Oh , it's very traumatizing. When you look at in Buffalo , that community out there. You can imagine ten people , but the whole community has been impacted. And not only that , community has been traumatized , but like cities , all of us , even here in San Diego and so on , have been traumatized where it puts us on a fight and flight mode. Right. So it's like , what do we do ? Do we arm ourselves to. And I'm against guns and I don't believe in that. Right. And so we're still in the fight and flight mode or the freeze mode , paranoid. And that's what trauma does to us. Right. And so we all try to deal with it. I think that we need to just like they're providing support services for individuals in Buffalo that need to be provided everywhere because this traumatizes a nation , especially black people , when we see these type of incidents happening.
S1: I've been speaking with Bishop Cornelius Bowser , director of Shuafat Outreach. He is one of the organizers of a vigil protest against gun violence and white supremacy at the Balboa Park fountain tonight at 6:00. Bishop Bowser , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you.
S3: What seemed like science fiction ten years ago is becoming a key component in recent climate action proposals. Carbon capture removing excess carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere is essential to the latest climate report from the United Nations and is an essential element in California's new climate roadmap released by the State Air Resources Board. And just this month , the U.S. Energy Department announced it's investing more than $2.3 billion for carbon capture technology. Many climate scientists say including carbon capture as part of climate action , is necessary in the race to limit global warming. Not every climate activist is convinced. Joining me is David Victor , professor of innovation and public policy at UC San Diego. David , welcome to the program.
S2: Terrific to be with you , Maureen.
S2: Emissions right now are going up about 1.3% per year. That's not as fast as they were going after the previous decade , which is about 2.3% per year. But if we're going to stop global warming , that rise needs to be turned around and we need to almost eliminate emissions from the atmosphere entirely. We just spent so long going to meetings and talking about this and not getting very much done that we're now committed to at least one and a half to be the warming , probably two degrees of warming. And this new report from the U.N. recognizes that and recognize that even if we have a crash program to reduce emissions , we're also going have to pull some of that some of those emissions that have accumulate in the atmosphere and pull them out and put them safely away from the atmosphere. Yeah.
S3: Yeah.
S2: Some of the technologies involve building machines that actually take the carbon dioxide , its very low concentration gas in the atmosphere and concentrates it and then puts it safely underground. So the machines are very expensive right now , but the costs seem likely to come down with investment. You can do it the old fashioned way , which is to grow trees or plants. There's some interesting work going on at Salk and other places where you can engineer plants so that they absorb that carbon in the root structure and in the soils , and then combine that with no till agriculture , and that could put the carbon back in the ground. You could protect mangroves , a variety of other strategies. Some people are looking at how to change the chemistry of the oceans , and then that would then result in the oceans absorbing more of the carbon dioxide keeping out of the atmosphere.
S2: So , for example , take these engineered machines. There's a project going on right now in Iceland , relatively small quantities , about a few thousand tons of carbon dioxide per year , but all provide technologies that begin at a small scale. That's an example. We've been working on crop engineering for a long time , so that's an extension of those kinds of technologies. If we could figure out how to grow more trees in a safe way and also protect those , unfortunately , many of the worlds for certain places where it's hard to protect those trees , then we could that could end up playing a significant role. So I think what we've seen is that the elements of the technologies and the ideas are there. What really has been missing , it's attention to where each of these options can really scale up and have a big impact. That's the research that we do at UC San Diego is how does a system as a whole operate and how quickly could you move from having nascent technologies like these projects in Iceland to something that would have a profound impact on the entire climate ? Right.
S2: We're talking about billions of tons of carbon dioxide per year. Current emissions are about 55 billion tons of all of greenhouse gases. This project in Iceland is a few thousand tons. That gives you some sense of the complete disconnect and scale. And one of things we've learned from our research already is that even if the technologies improve rapidly and get started right now , it's probably going to take a few decades for the technologies to improve enough and for the scale to be reached that these carbon removal options could be material alongside outright cuts in emissions. That's an argument for getting started. That's one of the reasons why the Department of Energy had so much money in their new budget for this kind of technology. It's why places that have been leaders on climate change , including California , are recognizing they're going to be leaders on carbon removal as well.
S3: Now , critics say that this emphasis on carbon capture allows the fossil fuel industry to keep going when our efforts should be focused on clean energy.
S2: And so unless we expect China and India and frankly , for us , the United States to get in line with the kinds of things we're already doing here in California , then we're in for quite a lot of warming. And so I think you have to walk and chew gum at the same time. You have to make a big effort , massive , much more serious effort than we made so far. To control an emissions and then recognize the reality. But they're also emissions that have achievement in the atmosphere that need to be pulled out. And that's true even in California. Essentially , every major plan that's been outlined in the last few months for cutting emissions from the California economy still has some parts of the economy where it's just too hard to eliminate. All the emissions are called residual emissions , and it's those emissions that we will have to pull out of the atmosphere even here in California.
S3: Now , the U.S. government is working toward a public private partnership in developing carbon capture systems.
S2: The engineered machines probably cost on the order of $1,000 per ton right now , maybe more. Many studies , including our own work , suggest that that cost may come down to a few hundred dollars per ton. So we would need to create some kind of incentive where people would be paid for that to bear that cost. But those numbers and perspective right now , the cap and trade system in California , the price of bouncing around quite a lot , but it's few tens of dollars per ton. So you have to create an incentive structure that rewards companies to go out and do this. And even then , it's risky technology. You don't know how well the technology's going to prove. You don't know whether all the buyers are going to wind up. And so this is one of those areas where government and industry need to learn to work together so that government does what it often does very well , which is to help lower risk , help subsidize early public good technologies. And an industry does what it does well , which is figuring out exactly where and how to allocate capital , how to run these projects with the maximum economic impact.
S3: You know , as the world approaches the 1.5 degree threshold of warming , you're saying it's going to take quite some time to get this technology up and running.
S2: And so I think it's inevitable we're going to cross 1.5 degrees. I actually thought for quite a long time that we're not going to stop warming at two degrees. The real question is , are we going to bend down these emission curves enough to avoid even worse outcomes , like for 3 to 5 degrees of warming ? Those were the standard projections maybe ten or 15 years ago. So we're now starting to bend down the curves , not fast enough. So I think we're really in the realm of tradeoffs. And one of the things that carbon removal does for us allows us to to reduce the amount of total warming. But when we make a big effort that includes controlling emissions.
S3: I've been speaking with David Victor , professor of innovation and public policy at UC San Diego. And David , as always , thank you so much.
S2: Well , thanks for having me , Maureen. It's always a pleasure.
S3: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jane Heinemann. San Diego Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Cheryl James Ward's remarks about Asian students have caused outrage. But KPBS race inequity reporter Christina Kim says Chinese-American parents are divided in their reactions.
S4: During a D-I board meeting last month , San Diego Union High School Superintendent Dr. Cheryl James Ward said this when asked why data showed the district's Asian students excelling academically. We have an influx of Asians. From.
S2: From.
S4: China , and the people who are able to make that journey are wealthy.
S1: You cannot come.
S2: To America.
S4: And buy a house for $2 million unless you have money. She later elaborated that family finances impacted academic achievement because when we look at socio economics , it plays a major role. Following these remarks , several Chinese-American parents have spoken out against the superintendent for what they see as a harmful and inaccurate portrayal of Asian-American students and their families. Like at this school board meeting on April 20th.
S2: I support black people and you all.
S4: Thank you for your comments. Your time.
S2: Is up. Let me finish.
S4: Thank you for a moment.
S4: You should be fine. You have become so far the dominant narrative on social media and in the news has been that all of San Diego unions , Chinese-American parents and guardians agree that James Ward , who is black and currently on administrative leave , should be fired. But the community is not a monolith. And in the wake of the incident , parents have divergent views on what they believe the best course of action should be.
S2: Right now , I feel like a lot of the parents , especially moderate parents , are really got intimidated by the by the fierceness they're seeing at the at the school board meeting.
S4: That's Albert Leong. He's a legal guardian of an incoming Canyon Crest Academy freshman. He says the fallout from the incident has divided San Diego's Chinese-American community. He believes the apology and healing plan James Ward emailed to district families is sincere. He wants to build solidarity and learn from the situation.
S2: To have this more moderate and cohesive voice trying to unite other minorities in the community , to collaborate with everyone.
S4: Lang fears a lot of the controversy is being fueled by misinformation being shared on WeChat , the Chinese social media app , which many Chinese-American San Diego parents use to share and translate district news.
S2: It's not hard to identify the kind of cultural wars that have been waged on people and also just a purposeful distortion of information.
S4: Lang says he's also sympathetic with a contingent of parents who say too many resources have been squandered on the district's lawsuits and a revolving door of superintendents.
S2: You know , just wasting our money on something that's really both unnecessary and and and political , which is really not what many parents are looking for.
S4: However , many parents feel the only way forward is for James Ward to resign. Among them is Dan Deadpan , whose children graduated from Canyon Crest Academy. I don't know how she can continue in this district with with this damage being done. I personally believe there's a saying in Chinese that you really cannot put the broken mirror together. Pan feels James Ward's comments , whether intentional or not , erased her own experience as an immigrant , pooling money to be able to go to school in the States. I came to the States 30 years ago. My parents borrowed the money from about 50 people , $100 each. So $5,000 to pay a quarter of my University of Michigan tuition. And that erasure and that hurt , which is at the center of the community's reaction , is something little. Another Canyon Crest Academy parent understands all too well. They see us as foreign and a little bit exotic and maybe a little bit out of place that we're not part of the community. Tao actually sat down for coffee with James Ward , whom she had never met. The two ended up speaking for hours. She came away convinced that all the focus on James Ward obscures the more important point , which is that these issues are multilayered and need to be addressed through conversations , not screaming matches. I feel like these conversations take a long time and I don't want to see it as like , you know , you don't see my point of view. And that's that. It's also not lost on Towle that what's happening in the San Diego School District is a microcosm of the United States specific racial politics , which have long pitted Asian communities against other communities of color as model minorities. You know , you're using Asians as like a standard for how minorities can beat all odds and achieve greatness. So telling other marginalized groups , Hey , why can't you do the same ? Why can't you be like them ? She says all this has her thinking about the 30th anniversary of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles , which severed black and Korean community relations for years. I think all people are focused on is let's fire Dr. Ward , but they don't see all the history is all connected. On Thursday , the San Diego Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet again and parents and community members from across these various perspectives are planning to attend to make their voices heard. Cristina Kim , KPBS News.
S1: Overdose deaths in the country reached a new high in 2021 , according to data from the CDC released last week. One major tool to help lower that number is Naloxone , a medicine that can save people from opioid related overdoses. But not everyone gets the medicine when they most need it. Here's what San Diego County director of behavioral health services , Luke Bergmann , told us about it last week.
S2: We need to make sure that there is naloxone in the hands of everybody who may be around someone who is overdosing. We need to make naloxone as available and as easy to access as as condoms have been for a long time.
S1: But one place where access to the lifesaving medicine is not available to everyone is in local jails. And that soon could change. The Citizen's Law Enforcement Review Board , known as Curb , voted last week to recommend that jail inmates get access to naloxone. Here to tell us more is investigative journalist Kelly Davis. Kelly , welcome back to Midday Edition.
S4: Hi , Jane. Thanks for having me.
S4: I think each deputy carries two doses. So if they find someone , you know , a man down , they're able to provide naloxone. And I know that they have been successful in reversing overdoses. But often the people who catch someone who's overdosing first are fellow inmates. And so the recommendation and what Clare is recommending is , is making sure that all jail inmates have have easy access to naloxone in case they're the person that that comes across , you know , an overdose before deputies can get there.
S1: How big of a problem are opioid overdoses in county jails.
S4: For San Diego ? Pretty Big Club actually commissioned a report by a firm called Analytical Consulting. And the report looked at mortality rates in San Diego County jails. This was released last month. And one thing that that the report found is that in San Diego jails , people are more likely to die of overdose death than in California's 12 largest county jail systems.
S1: As you mentioned , this decision was unanimous , but it was just a recommendation. So what would need to happen for it to become policy.
S4: Here so Clare Alsup can do is just make recommendations and pass those along to the sheriff's department. So what their hope is , is they'll send over this recommendation and that this sheriff's department will sooner rather than later say whether they'll adopt the recommendation or not. And I have to say , the club has been issuing a lot of recommendations , and most , if not all of them recently have been adopted by the sheriff's department. So I think that bodes well for for this one.
S4: And I think the sheriff's department definitely wants to address these overdose deaths.
S1: You know , you write about a pilot program in Los Angeles County that provided Naloxone to inmates there.
S4: So a month after the program launched , there was an overdose in a certain unit. And they have this all on closed circuit TV video that monitors folks. And you could see the two people fall from the overdose. And an inmate ran over to this box on a wall , grabbed two doses of locks and run back over. And they're able to administer the doses of naloxone to the two guys who were down well before any deputies got there and they saved the two guys lives. So I think it really shows that this is a very effective tool to put in jails.
S1: You also write about a local nonprofit called A New Path. They distributed naloxone to jails back in 2020 , but they were never used.
S4: And so they they turned over a training video and a thousand naloxone kits to the sheriff's department. And the sheriff's department ended up returning those kits unused. It was a very strange why this couldn't this very useful , helpful initiative couldn't work out. I guess the sheriff's department said the kids weren't distributed because the department. Had not reached an agreement with the Service Employees International Union , which represents medical staff. So I guess it kind of got caught up in normal government bureaucracy and might have lost some lives because they couldn't get their act together.
S1: Well , there is an election coming up and San Diego County will choose a new sheriff.
S4: But the only one I've seen who has outright supported this policy is Dave Myers. You know , I tweeted a link to my story in the U-T and he retweeted it and he said , I completely support this. So so far , he's the only one who's responded in that way. But I'm guessing the other candidates would agree with this recommendation because as we know , it has , you know , a similar program , Save Lives Up in L.A. County jails.
S1: I've been speaking with San Diego investigative journalist Kelly Davis about her latest article on San Diego County jails in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Kelly , thank you so much for joining us.
S4: Oh , thank you so much , Jade.
S3: It's been called our natural air conditioner. The coastal cloud cover that we call May Grey and June. Gloom traditionally keeps spring and early summer temperatures comfortable in San Diego. But climate scientists say that natural AC may be disappearing. A variety of environmental factors , all linked to climate change , are hammering away at the delicate balance between warm upper air , cool water and onshore breezes that create coastal clouds. And the effect could mean a very different summertime experience in San Diego's future. Joining me is Dr. Rachel Clem Usha of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She studies marine layer clouds and California coastal climate. And Rachel , welcome to the program.
S4: Thanks for having me.
S3: I called it a delicate balance between the warm upper atmosphere and the cool ocean.
S4: And what you mentioned is exactly right in the sense that we have our cool ocean surface here along the West Coast. You know , you can compare that to something like the Gulf Stream. If we went over to the East Coast where the coastal waters at the same latitude are much warmer. So we have this cool ocean surface due to upwelling partially and just the advection , the waters flowing down from the north. Then we have warmer air on top of that cooler air. The warmer air in our region is due to subsidence. So that's large scale sinking air mass. And as it sinks , it warms. And this is really interesting and a fascinating part of studying these clouds , that delicate balance , because the subsidence is tied into the largest circulation of the globe that have these circulation. So air rises at the equator and sinks in the subtropics. That sinking air warms as it sinks. And that provides that's basically like a lid on the lower atmosphere. So that cool , moist marine air is trapped close to the surface. And that's where we have these types of horizontally. Uniform clouds are made of ranging , grim form.
S4: So as you have a land surface that imagine maybe a chaparral or just a natural surface , you know , changes into an urban area and you have sidewalk and asphalt and rooftops. This will change the temperature of the region and it will definitely change the in particular , the nighttime temperatures. It will increase the nighttime temperatures. When that happens , when we have this increase in what we refer to some time as min or minimum temperature , it will basically dry out the cloud from below. So that location at which you would have condensation in your cloud form is now has to be higher up. It has to be higher away from the surface that has is warmer. And so that will thin our low level cloud out from below. And when you look at it multiple years and months , what you see is then you just end up having less fog frequency , so you extend it out and reduced it. So we have linked that to urban land cover. That is definitely a human change and we can see that trend in decreasing number of fog days in May and June and we look throughout the warm season and that the trend is stronger in those areas where we've done more to change the cover. So in L.A. it's the strongest. The L.A. region , especially inland L.A. we see it to some extent in San Diego , but less so in Santa Barbara , where we have less of that urban land cover. And we also look at the Channel Islands where we have some airports and we can look at the trends in the little clouds. And we don't see a large trend towards less low level clouds in the island areas.
S4: So maybe you've seen if you've been to Torrey Pines , those Torrey Pines , they can get a little bit of water from that fog and the fog can drip down onto their routes. So without that , you're taking away that source of a little bit of water in a dry time of year. And there's also. Implications for both renewable energy sources and traditional energy sources. So as more and more homes have rooftop solar panels. I mean , maybe less low level clouds would provide them. They're going to be generating a little bit more of their own energy. And conversely , if it's , you know , your cool May Day is now a little bit warmer because you don't have that kind of cloud shield. More people might be tempted to get around air conditioning so there could be more demand. There's also impacts on air flight. So if you've had flights cancelled sometimes because it's that fog and it's really low , the management of air traffic is impacted.
S3: I wonder , is there any estimate of how much longer we'll experience May Gray as a yearly weather pattern ? I've heard that Scripps has a contest for predicting the number of May Gray days.
S4: You can't just take what you guess last year , what the answer was last year and , you know , reduce a couple points from that because there's a lot of factors at play. Okay.
S3: Okay. Then I've been speaking with Dr. Rachel Clement of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Thank you so much ratio for speaking with us.
S4: Thank you. And thank you for your interest.
S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. Turning 21 is a big deal , a reason to celebrate. You're finally an adult. But for some young people , in fact , 200,000 young people here in the U.S. , turning 21 catapults them into a bizarre legal limbo. That's what's happening to Addison , her and her twin sister , Iva. The Cinar sisters grew up in the San Francisco Bay area , but as they got older , they discovered their right to stay here in California was conditional temporary. That's because they've aged out of their parents family immigration application. What do you do when circumstances beyond your control threaten to force you out of the only place you ever called home ? In a story that first aired on the California Report magazine KQED , Rachael MYROW tells us how Eddie and Eva have had to fight to stay and how they're helping others caught in the same limbo.
S5: ETI and Eva Sinha were seven years old when they moved with their mom from New Delhi to San Francisco.
S4: You learn how to ride a bikes and go on a path. We loved eating all the Asian food in San Francisco and Bay Area. Just just children growing up in the bay.
S5: They join their dad who was starting to transition out of his first career in the oil industry. Now he runs his own Silicon Valley consulting firm and mom is the director of admissions at a local university. In time for middle school. The girl's family moved to the suburbs , Fremont in the East Bay , where they did all the things you do growing up in Fremont. Yeah.
S4: Yeah. So you went to Centerville Middle School and Irvington High School. We high commission peek during lunch breaks because there was an open campus. You would rush over to 7-Eleven , grab some taquitos , and rush back to campus before class started. You always president of the French club. I was secretary. We never really felt out of place. We had a lot of other friends who were immigrants , you know , second and third generation immigrants. And I have quite a few friends who were immigrants themselves who came in elementary school along with their parents.
S5: But there was a critical difference between them and most of their friends. Eva and its presence in this country was conditional , temporary and set to expire when they turned 21. They were dependents riding on their dad's temporary visa status and later his family's application for a green card for the right to live and work in the U.S. more or less indefinitely.
S4: Most of my friends had gotten their green card by the time they were in high school.
S5: That's what their parents expected would happen for them. That was a big part of the reason why their family moved here from New Delhi. But just after they arrived , a backlog started to develop in Washington , D.C. , because of a bizarre quota system set in place back in 1991. Every single country gets the same percentage of green cards given out in any one year. No more than 7% of the total in any given year goes to applicants from any one country , whether you're from Albania or Zimbabwe or anything in between. But of course , there are way more people from India and China applying , especially so they can work in Silicon Valley. So starting in the early aughts , year after year , the line got longer and longer and longer.
S4: Our parents applied in 2011 when we went to school. They sort of have the record today. So in high school really for us. Okay. As much as our experiences are similar to a peers , you actually have the same opportunity.
S5: It only dawned on the Simha sisters in high school that their green cards might not arrive in time for college , that they might turn 21 while in college and suddenly switch from dependent to adult. Suddenly , they would become ineligible for everything from in-state tuition at a public school to all kinds of grants and loans. I couldn't help but ask the Sinhalese sisters if they blame their parents. Iva said No.
S4: They paid all their taxes. They've come here with the status. They maintained their status. This made sure that that I you know , they're following all the rules. And , you know , once their turn in line comes up , they would get their green card. It's just there's a backlog.
S5: They found a way forward. They both found a way to convince their respective financial aid department , said UC Santa Barbara and San Diego to let them pay the lower in-state tuition all the way through , even though they were both going to become international students in a few years. And while their 21st birthdays were a reason to celebrate.
UU: Happy birthday. You met Nadia.
S5: That day also marked a turning point. According to the federal government , they were now on their own foreign nationals who needed to apply for temporary visas to stay in the US legally , which is exactly what they've done. After they graduated cum laude. Both of them , Ettie and Eva , became experts on the visa system here in the U.S.. It is on an F one now , an academic visa.
S4: I am a student at Cornell University in New York studying biomedical engineering.
S5: Eva's employer sponsored her for an H-1B , the most common in Silicon Valley.
S4: I currently work as a financial analyst in San Francisco.
S5: That H-1B is temporary , of course.
S4: Six years since I got it in 2020. So 2026.
S5: Got that. She's only good to stay in the U.S. until 2026 unless her employer applies for a renewal or a green card or she returns to her , quote unquote , home country , a country she's visited but doesn't consider home.
S4: Hopefully my employer will pay for a green card for me , but I don't know. The card estimate is 80 plus years. So yeah.
S5: 80 plus years. They laugh , but 80 plus years with the threat of deportation to India hanging over their heads.
S4: We are like as American as people who are American citizens. We grew up here. We want to continue our lives here. We want to contribute to the American economy here. Everybody perceives us as American as well , from our peers to my managers , etc.. I think we're American every way , but on paper it's so obvious to everyone , but for some reason , not the U.S. government.
S5: After it graduates , she'll have to do the same thing as Eva , find an employer to sponsor her for an H-1B and then a green card. Essentially , they're both hopscotching from one temporary visa to another to stay in this country. There's a name for this dilemma for what ETI and IVA have become.
S4: Today I'm representing over 40,000 documented Dreamers in the state of California.
S5: Documented Dreamers. At a recent committee hearing in Sacramento , Eva testified on behalf of a bill put forward by State Senator Maria Elena Durazo of Los Angeles.
S4: Senate Bill 1160 will allow dependent visas students that meet. Existing.
S1: Existing.
S4: Eligibility requirements.
S1: To pay in-state.
S4: Tuition at California's public colleges and universities.
S5: This bill isn't for the Senate sisters. It's for the students , the documented dreamers coming after them. Even though SB 1160 can't address federal immigration law. It can make the cost of a college education in California a little bit more feasible. And that's good enough for Eva. Today.
S4: At age seven , I immigrated with my family alongside my twin sister from India to San Francisco. Growing up doing a piece by piece , at least you can get some roommates going. Having one big legislation which will definitely solve everything in the way that our government is designed , is going to take forever.
S5: But there are bills moving at the federal level in Washington , D.C. , designed to help more than 200,000 documented Dreamers in the U.S. , most of them Asian , roughly 70% Indian. Ahead of more comprehensive reform.
S2: Good afternoon , everybody. I call to order this hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration , Citizenship and Border Safety.
S5: U.S. Senator Alex Padilla cosponsored the America's Children Act , backed by the group EVA , and he became involved with an advocacy group called Improve the Dream. The America's Children Act would allow dependent visa holders to maintain their status even after they turn 21. No more fear of a wait time for a green card that lasts for decades.
S2: The term wait time for many is actually a cruel misnomer for applicants from some countries , the wait time is literally longer than any human's life expectancy. These are wait times. They are de facto bans.
S5: But even though the America's Children Act is targeted to help a small group of people who enjoy bipartisan support , the bill's future is murky. David Bier is a research fellow with the Cato Institute.
S6: These are people who grew up feeling like Americans , and they are in the same position their parents are in , trying to go through a lottery to win an H-1B visa , to be able to get in a backlog for a green card that has no end. It's not a good immigration system for anyone.
S5: But Beer says lawmakers on the right and the left have doubts about peeling off even the most agreed upon partial solution. It's just too iffy in an election year. Even the Biden administration is curiously silent about documented Dreamers.
S6: It just seems like they're so afraid of bringing up the word immigration.
S5: And so the Simha sisters keep advocating for legal change , mentoring young people in the same situation , and trying to move forward with their lives while holding on to their dream of a future here in the only place they call home. For the California Report , I'm Rachael MYROW.

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