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The state of the border after Title 42

 June 9, 2023 at 12:26 PM PDT

S1: This week on Roundtable. A month ago , US immigration policy dramatically changed what the impact has been post Title 42 along the border.

S2: What we're really seeing is a really fundamental shift in the way that asylum happens or doesn't happen at our border.

S1: We're diving into what it means for migrants and the impact on the San Diego region. Talking with journalists who have reported on both sides of the US-Mexico border. You know , a lot of it comes down to.

S3: The Biden administration with the CBP. One app is trying to keep the problem out of sight , is trying to handle the optics and not have masses of people at the border. But that doesn't mean these people don't exist.

S1: Don't go anywhere. Roundtable is coming up next.

S3: Welcome to Kpbs. Roundtable.

S1: Roundtable. I'm Matt Hoffman. A month ago , US immigration policy fundamentally shifted a pandemic era order called Title 42 , allowing border agents to quickly turn migrants away was lifted. Now , enter back in the old system , sort of. There's some new additions from the Biden administration. With Title 42 gone after more than three years , some were predicting an increase in people trying to enter the US from Mexico. But did that actually happen ? And what's the impact been on the San Diego Tijuana region ? Joining us to break it all down are those who have been there on both sides of the border covering this. Kate Morrissey is here. She covers the border and immigration for the Union Tribune. Elliot Spigot is also with us. He's the immigration team Lead and the San Diego correspondent with the Associated Press and Kpbs. Border reporter Gustavo Solis joins us again. Great to have you guys all back here on Roundtable. I think it's the third time we've all come together. So first question is going to be for everyone. We can start with you , Gustavo. As we mentioned , Title 42 , it's been gone for just about a month.

S3: I think people are still waiting for it or they're done waiting and just realized it's not happening right now. There was an episode that kind of was like that where there were a couple hundred people camping out just on the Mexican side of the San Jose border crossing. But the Tijuana City got rid of that one , I think for for people on the outside , for everyday border crossers , the cross border commuters , not much has really changed in the border this month compared to last month.


S2: And so we don't see as many people crossing without permission. We don't see as many people trying to approach the port of entry as we did say , even before Title 42 , right , when we had just the regular immigration processing. What we see mostly is people trying to wait to use the smartphone app that is now really the only way for most people to access the asylum system unless they're from Mexico , because there are these new , very strict rules in place that would pretty immediately disqualify most of them from even potentially getting into the asylum system to try and argue their case. And I think that's a really big piece of news that's kind of gotten lost in all of this is the way that all of this is working now.

S1: And we're going to dive into that for sure. But Elliot , also to you , some first impressions when you look back over the last month.

S4: I mean , it's been a blur. There's a lot that's happened , a lot to unpack that we probably won't have time to get to. But I mean , the numbers are down. The numbers shot up right before Title 42 ended. The administration was was predicting that the numbers would go I think it was 12,000 to 14,000 illegal crossings across the entire border per day from about 5000in March. So they were expecting this massive increase and it did happen , but it happened before Title 42 ended. It went up to about over 10,000 a day in the in the days a few days before Title 42 ended. And then it plummeted and it went down really low or it's very low right now to about 3000. So it's really hard to predict. And CBP has admitted that they don't know. They can't predict anything. It kind of reminds me of the period when right now kind of reminds me of the early days of 2017 when Donald Trump took office. And and they called it the Trump effect where where people stopped coming. And I get the sense and this is just me speculating that , you know , smugglers and migrants are kind of just trying to feel things out and see try to see where the poke , you know , like poke things and see where the holes are. And it's going to happen. You know , the numbers are going to come back up. But but it's when and where and how is is anyone's guess. There is one other thing I'll mention that was really it came and went. So I don't know if there's anything really to discuss , but it was a remarkable scene that Gustavo , I think you mentioned it , where there were hundreds and Kate spent a lot of time we all spent a lot of time where hundreds of people were were living between the two walls in San Diego and Tijuana. And , you know , people they were they were living there for days and people were they were not. They were not living well , let's put it that way. There were no there were no not enough toilets and food , water. People were getting , you know , food pass through the fences from Tijuana. And there was a just a remarkable scene in Hakamada where a lot of Colombians and people from Uzbekistan were just showing up in the middle of nowhere. I mean , we're talking very isolated and just living out there for days because the Border Patrol couldn't couldn't process them quickly enough. And that was in the , you know , out there in the days before Title 42 ended May 11th. It did eventually clear up. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. And I know we've seen this kind of dropped. I think the Biden administration says between ports of entries illegal crossing down 70% since Title 42 was lifted. And Elliot , you know , we've seen , you know , federal immigration leaders taking a harder line stance when it comes to the border , you know , saying things like it's not open. And it sounds like there are some stricter penalties for those crossing illegally. Now , what are those stricter penalties ? And is that in terms of like seeking asylum to.

S4: So with Title 42 , remember you you would get sent back to Mexico or to your country , but there were no legal consequences. So now there are you get I believe it's a five year bar on re-entering or re-entering the country. So if you get married or there's some you can't you can't re-enter the country for five years. And what else is there ? You're exposed to a criminal charge if you're you're caught again. I mean , but one thing we don't know and I know there have been some numbers leaked as how many people are getting in. And we know there are. And , you know , there are ways to find out. But the government doesn't release these numbers. How many people are getting released and told show up in court date. They tell they tell us how many people are sent back. Right. So. Well.

S5: Well.


S2: It was initially launched in January as a way for people to request entry to the United States , despite Title 42 to come through the port of entry and request asylum. And now that Title 42 is gone. The app has remained as the the only way to come in without potentially exposing yourself to this new rule which says that you will be presumed ineligible for asylum if you , after you left your country , crossed through any other country before you entered the United States. And so that's pretty much everyone coming to the border except people who are fleeing Mexico. And that's whether you climb the border wall or whether you come to the port of entry without an appointment. That same rule is going to apply to you unless you have an appointment through the smartphone app , you can supposedly request an exemption from that. Let's say you only have a flip phone. You have no way to get any other kind of phone. You're illiterate , like , you know , sort of stacking all of these factors to say like , I can't use an app I'm in danger from. I'm in imminent danger here in Tijuana. I have a medical emergency. So you're supposed to be able to put some kind of story together to try to get an exemption. But people are very nervous to be the first one to try to do that because it's very vague. And so if you get told no , then all of a sudden the rule applies to you. And so really , the only people who I've seen trying to come to the port of entry are from Mexico because they haven't crossed through another country. And so that rule doesn't apply.

S1: Yeah , a lot of confusing changes. We'll get to the CBP one app later a little bit , too. But Gustavo , you know , under Title 42 , there were record numbers of people crossing illegally. And something Elliot also touched on. And you've also made this point.

S3: There is no legal consequence. If there's no legal consequence , you get turned around , send back to Mexico and then you yourself are going to turn around and try again. And data showed that there was an increase in people who were apprehended multiple times. Right ? So whenever we mentioned border apprehension numbers and sorry if I sound like a broken record , it is the number of apprehensions , not the number of people. So the two point whatever million apprehensions does not equate to two point something million people. A lot of those , a significant amount of those were repeat offenders. And with Title 42 gone , you're seeing a decline of those. But you're also seeing people are a little bit more hesitant to try to cross for reasons that Kate and Elliot have already expressed. There are consequences and the stakes for some. These people are life and death , so they're not going to really play. Play around with that too much. Kate.

S2: Just to sort of illustrate what Gustavo is talking about a little bit , I remember interviewing asylum seekers during Title 42 who would tell me about deals that they would get from smugglers , where they would get three attempts for the amount that they paid. And so smugglers were really sort of capitalizing on this idea of I can send you through multiple times. And that's part of the enticement of like , come with me because you get three tries with me. I also remember interviewing a woman who at some point realized that her group was being sent through over and over again so that the smugglers could distract Border Patrol and send other things across the border that were not people. And so , you know , they were just getting caught and sent back to Mexico and caught and sent back to Mexico and caught and sent back to Mexico. At one point , I sat outside a port of entry waiting for people to get expelled and met a man who said he had tried 30 times. Wow. Wow.

S1: Wow. And so gone is Title 42. And then enter in again something called Title eight.

S4: But , you know , Title 42 is a is a public health law. Title eight , It just means normal immigration law. So so it's what has existed since , I believe it's 19 , I don't know , 24. I can't remember. But it's been been a long time. Yeah. Before we were all born. And so it's what it's what has existed. It's the old way and it's so that's , that's what we've reverted to. Except there are some significant changes. The most significant by far is what's known as the asylum transit ban. The administration does not like that term , but that's what it is. It's a ban on asylum on anyone who transits through another country. So basically in this environment , the scenario would be anyone who's who's not from Mexico , who comes to the US border. They don't like the term because they say there are exceptions and there there are , but they're so few and far between. Basically , you know , the term they use is rebuttable , rebuttable presumption of ineligibility , meaning you could rebut it. You do have the you can be exempt if you are , I forget the exact term , but basically , you know , inevitable , you know , you're going to die or be raped or or , you know , tortured or you have an acute medical condition or exceptionally compelling circumstances. I believe that's the language that she used , which which is somewhat subjective. You know , it's up to the asylum officer. So that's a huge change. And we really know very , very , very little about how that's being applied and how the how supposedly you get asylum access to attorneys. But the administration has released next to zero information about how many have had access to attorneys. It's kind of a black box.

S1: We'd like to hear from you. Send us your thoughts on how things have changed along the San Diego Tijuana border and that since the end of Title 42 , you can give us a call at (619) 452-0228. Drop a voicemail there. Leave your name and where you're calling from or email us roundtable at Coming up , we're talking more about the CBP one app and how it's playing a role in the changes. You're listening to Kpbs Roundtable. You're listening to Kpbs Roundtable. I'm Matt Hoffman. Today , we're taking a look at the state of the San Diego Tijuana border , this coming nearly a month after the end of Title 42. And that's where immigration policy was very much reworked with us as the Union Tribune's Kate Morrissey , Gustavo Solis from Kpbs and the Associated Press. Elliot Spygate.

S3: And I do think it's worth noting that if just because people are given a chance to seek asylum , it obviously doesn't mean that they'll get it. Statistically speaking , they probably won't. I looked it up earlier today. I think current fiscal year figures for asylum denial rate is 52%. But the important part is that they're getting a shot at it. They're getting that due process. Right. That was denied for them during the entirety of Title 42. Outside of asylum , there are a couple of other different forms of protection , like humanitarian parole , temporary protected status. Elliot and Kate know more about those than I do because I haven't really covered them too much.

S1: Oh , yeah. And you guys have both been down to the border in San Diego , near San Isidro. And I know you guys have been talking with people that are really impacted by these. I mean , what are they saying about some of these new policies ? And I know you've talked to a lot of people that have been , you know , trying to claim asylum because they're fleeing violence in their country.

S2: Well , I mean , I think most people right now are just incredibly frustrated about this app. This app is basically like using a lottery every day and just waiting to see if your name is going to come up in the lottery of the day. And so there are people who I know who have been trying since the app came out in January and they still don't have appointments and they watch people who have been waiting for 2 or 3 weeks , get their appointments and go through and they don't understand why they're not getting it. And it's all just very randomized. There supposed to be some wait in the algorithm based on how long you've been waiting , but it doesn't seem like that's really a heavy weight because a lot of people are still just stuck. So I hear from a lot of people , what else can I do ? How else can I get through ? But I want to come back a little bit to what Gustavo was talking about , because I think when we're talking about the asylum system , it kind of gets lost as to what the system is and why we have it. And the asylum system is the United States way of deciding who among people coming to our border qualify as refugees. So other countries have their own mechanisms in some countries , the UN actually does that for them because they don't want to bother with it. But here we take it upon ourselves to make that determination. And that's all under these international treaties that we agreed to after World War Two , after the United States and other countries turned away Jewish migrants who were fleeing the Holocaust , and many of those migrants ended up dying in the Holocaust because we turned them away. And it took us decades to figure out getting all of that actually codified into law. We didn't put the Refugee Act on the books until 1980 , which is significantly after the end of World War Two , but nonetheless , that was sort of the motivation behind it. And so when we're talking about the asylum system and people having access to be screened , we're talking about determining who is a refugee and who is not , so that that person doesn't get sent back to death.

S1: Elliot And it sounds like you want to jump in here.

S4: Yeah , I was going to jump back to what you were saying , Kate , about CBP One , it's the I have encountered and I'm sure you have as well , Gustavo , just immense frustration , like you know , about the app. And I'm just remembering this one woman who had been trying for six months and every day waking up at six in the morning and she was like the classic case. I mean , her siblings had been I'm sorry , I probably shouldn't get too graphic , but her I mean , they had been their bodies had been mutilated. And , you know , I mean , just horrific. Her house was burned down. I mean , just like , you know , a classic case for asylum. And and she couldn't get the appointment and people were showing up one day and then the next day they would get an appointment. And they did. Their cases were not nearly as severe. So it was just an immense frustration. She finally did get in. But CBP came , as Kate alluded to , they responded and to their credit , you know , came out with these improvements of we're going to give priority to people who have been trying the longest. We're going to make appointments , you know , release new appointments throughout the day. Sort of all at once. So you don't have this mad rush like you had for like when a concert ticket is released and and they made some other changes that that that sounded very good. But I've asked people , you know , have you noticed the changes and they haven't. Now I'm interviewing people in Taiwan who are who are still there. So I have not interviewed people who got through who are probably very happy with the changes. But I don't know if you guys have any sense of whether it has. You know , there was a and you guys I know , I think you've been there. There's a new camp in Tijuana where people have just showing up at the border. And CBP is like letting one family in every three hours or so just like , okay , well , we don't have an appointment. We'll let you in anyways.

S1: Yeah , well , it sounds like people used to be able to show up at the port of entry claim asylum.

S3: But that hasn't been the case with the app. We've we've reported on it that there are racial economic disparities. People with better smartphones and stronger Wi-Fi connections have more access to it. I think for me , the image that sticks out , I went to the port of entry one morning where the people who have appointments line up , They've they've been waiting months or weeks. But whatever their case is , this is where they all come gather and wait to cross into the US. And it's really striking because you just see people getting in a bus , coming out of a bus from a shelter with trash bags of all their belongings. They look like they haven't slept well or showered in quite some time. And then you see Ubers come by and an Uber driver will get out and carry somebody's suitcases and it'll be a European migrant who has been staying in a hotel for the last couple of weeks , getting in that same line. Not to say that they aren't deserving of the shot at asylum , they totally are. But it's impossible to ignore those disparities and the app doesn't. Well , at least before the changes now , it's kind of debatable whether it does or doesn't , but the app doesn't really filter levels of vulnerability. And now they did announce those changes where they're giving some priority to people who have been registered the longest. But I don't know how much priority or I don't know how many of those slots are available. All of that is not very transparent.

S1: I think it's like a little over a thousand a day across the southern border. People are being let in. Yeah.

S5: Yeah.


S4: It's not enough to meet the demand , that's for sure.

S1: Kate , go. Ahead.

S2: Ahead. But it doesn't. I mean , the people I've talked to , it doesn't really seem like that weight is having a significant impact on who goes in. You know , there are plenty of people who have been waiting since January who are among the early registered people and they're not getting appointments. And so maybe it's having some effect on the randomized selection of people every day , but not a huge amount. And I do think , you know , the changes have somewhat mitigated , you know , whether you have this smartphone or that smartphone , but you still have to have a smartphone , right ? You still you still have to have the ability to take a picture of yourself with your phone. That has to work in order to get it. And that is still very difficult for some folks. So I don't think the problems have entirely gone away.

S1: And switching gears a little bit , you know , San Diego County , our region , they were preparing to see a lot more migrants coming post Title 42 , whether that's like the nonprofits that work with them or even county officials. And question to all of you and whoever wants to take it first.


S4: Yeah , it's not something I've looked into. I probably should more. I mean , again , we're as we've all talked about this before , San Diego is kind of a pass through. People spend a night two nights here and they're on their way. I think there have been the Colombians. There's been a big increase in Colombians right before nine over 11. Kazakhstan , Kazakhstan , Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan , Mauritania. There's been a I think recently I've noticed at least a more international presence. But beyond that , I haven't I can't really say much.

S2: Well , one of the things that I think probably also didn't get highlighted enough as we were all running around the border , reporting on everything that was happening when Title 42 was ending , you know , we did have all of these people sort of being held. In custody in between the border walls or out in the middle of nowhere for days at a time. And there was a big response from San Diego. San Diego organized. They brought fruit , they brought water bottles , they brought food , and they were trying to pass things out to people who were stuck in these spaces. There were people who were bringing tents out in Hecuba. And so there was a big response in San Diego when there was a need. And I think that's something that that we can all definitely sort of look at and talk about. And , you know , there were a lot of supplies left over after that. And people are trying to figure out what to do with that now and how can they best use it and keeping some in case it happens again. We saw people being held between the border walls , for example , for months prior to the end of Title 42. That wasn't something that just happened the week of. And so I think a lot of folks are still trying to be ready in case that in particular comes back. As far as the shelters go , you know , there's they're still receiving all of those folks who are coming in through the app. So there's definitely still a lot of work happening. It's not like there's no work happening. I don't think it's quite the same amount of work as it was right when the policy was changing.

S1: And , you know , when we talk about this Title 42 ending and where we're at now , when it was ending , it was like a media frenzy even at the national level , at the local level dominated headlines. But it seems to me at least it's a lot quieter now.

S4: I mean , there's a crisis every three months to six months. It's remember the Haitians in Del Rio , Texas , and then Title 42 is going to end at the end of December. And then it was you know , it was going to end. It did actually did end in May. But every every so once in a while , the border is in crisis. And then it's not that it is that it isn't coverage.

S3: You know , it's almost well , it happens every year , too. I think people in Washington or wherever they're reporting on this , it's like they forget that migration is seasonal , right ? So there's a downturn in the summertime and in the dead of winter and spikes up again in the springtime. So every every march you get all these articles from the national publications saying a big increase in migrants across the border happens every year. That's not news. So that's been frustrating how reactive the national conversation has been , but that's not really Title 42 related.

S2: You know , we're here doing the work every day , talking to people every day , and then people come in and out and think they got some big story. And I wrote the story like three months before. And they don't even you know , they don't even pay attention to that. There were there was plenty of reporting that the people being held between the border walls was new. And because of Title 42 and it was not if you look up my articles , I had it even a month before that.

S1: That's that disconnect from. Yeah , Washington , D.C. , where a lot of writers are.

S2: And they just don't get it. And they come in with these sort of preconceived notions about what the story is going to be rather than coming here and asking what the story is. And I think those of us who are on the ground really have that opportunity or take the time to say , well , what is the story rather than assuming that something is going to be the story and then it's not , which is what we saw in this case. I do also think , you know , not to put it all on the media , the appetite for immigration news in the public has changed a lot in the last couple of years. During the last presidential administration , people couldn't get enough of it. They wanted to know every single thing the government was doing when it came to immigration. And now , even when the government makes similar moves to what were made under the previous administration , there's less interest in reading it or hearing it. And so , you know , I think it's a little bit of both. It's the public and the media who are are in these sort of episodic cycles of sensationalizing and reacting rather than paying attention.

S1: It seems like a lot of times , too. It's like when you when you watch national shows , it's like you're seeing scenes out of Texas or scenes out of Arizona.

S4: And I think that like , I mean , I got a few years on all of you guys , but you guys , you read books and stuff , so you know what I'm talking about. But , you know , in 2014 , the , the everything changed. It was Mexican men going back and forth for work , very , very seasonal. And and then it changed Central Americans and now is just all over the world , people fleeing violence and very complicated situations. I mean , and when when did we start to see , you know , an here in San Diego with a Haitians and then more recently , Venezuelans and remember Cameroonians in 2019 and now it's just it's from all different countries. So I've. You. It is like kind of a story that's maybe a decade old and none of the coverage I shouldn't say none of the coverage. Our coverage clearly reflects that. But the coverage in general , a lot of it just doesn't it's more it's so episodic. It's so like what happened today. A group of 300 crossed today. Joe Biden said this. You know , it's so in the moment.

S1: We'd like to hear your thoughts on the US-Mexico border and all the changes. Give us a call at (619) 452-0228. Drop us a voice mail there or email us roundtable at after the break. We're talking about what asylum seekers and refugees are experiencing in this new immigration reality. You're listening to Kpbs Roundtable. You're listening to Kpbs Roundtable. I'm Matt Hoffman. We're speaking with some local border reporters. Kate Morrissey from the San Diego Union Tribune is here. Elliot Spigot from the Associated Press to and Kpbs. Gustavo Solis. We're talking about the state of the US-Mexico border after some major policy changes last month. You know , Kate , earlier , Elliot mentioned how oftentimes when migrants arrive in San Diego , it's like a stopping point. It's probably not their last destination place they go until they move on. I know you recently published a profile of a Tier a Santa resident , and her name is Barbara Cummings. She's working to help serve Afghans who are transitioning to life here. And we know we kind of touched on this earlier. Two , that there's a lot of nonprofits out there that are doing similar work.

S2: And whether it's a focus on Afghans or a focus on LGBTQ identifying asylum seekers or , you know , different groups , there's there's a lot of different little efforts out there. And so I wouldn't want to give all the credit to any one person for what they're doing. But to explain what she's doing , she's particularly motivated to help Afghans and not just asylum seekers , but also refugees or people who come on special immigrant visas , who helped the US military in Afghanistan and were actually able to get that visa. So it doesn't matter how they arrived , But she's she's focusing particularly on that nationality and she has sort of a house filled with items that she's gathered through donations and purchases to be able to feed them and clothe them and put kitchen equipment in their homes and get diapers for their kids and everything. And so that is something that I think we see happening a lot in in the San Diego area is people trying to figure out how they can do something. And there's a lot of different ways that they can do something. And whether it's hosting an asylum seeker in their home with the extra room that they have or whether it's donating somewhere or putting some time in to help drive people to the airport from one of the shelters. You know , there's a lot of different ways that people are getting involved. I do think the Afghan story is is particularly interesting because we do have a large Afghan American community here in San Diego. And so it is it is a a final destination for a lot of folks who are coming from Afghanistan in a way that people of other nationalities maybe not so much. And so we do see asylum seekers crossing the border and then settling locally here.

S1: And Elliot And Gustavo , can you talk a little bit briefly , if you can , about the experience of asylum seekers after they arrive here ? I think , Kate , your article mentioned that they they can't work for like six months.

S3: Most of my coverage is on the Mexican side before they come over here. I imagine they're they're it's almost the second leg of their journey , right ? They made it into the US , but they're going through that process. We've mentioned the huge backlog in immigration court cases , more than 2 million now. So it's not going to be an easy process. It's not going to be a short process. But I think they're happy that they no longer have to look over their shoulder or worry about where they're going to sleep or where their next meal is coming from. Those that are not in detention , those with detention , it's a totally different situation. But I think it there's so many different ways it can go once you get here , whether you go to the asylum , that humanitarian parole the detainee that not detained that it I think it's impossible to generalize that that experience. It depends on individual circumstances and which communities you end up with. But but I think one thing that certain is that it's definitely not the end of the story.

S4: So it's a really good question. I think an area that's ripe for a lot , a lot more reporting and I don't have a lot to add to Gustavo. I will say I did was looking at the backlog of immigration court and it's changing a lot. So the Miami , Florida courts have 15% of all cases in the country right now. Miami is the most backlogged court. And Orlando number two , I was kind of surprised by Orlando. And in the two , the two courts have 350,000 cases backlog out of a total of 2.1 million. And New Mexico only has 200. So there's you know , it depends on the state. But , yeah.

S5: They're not.

S3: Until 2030.

S1: And Kate , quickly , go ahead. Yeah.

S2: So when when someone comes here and requests asylum , that that official request doesn't actually happen until they go to immigration court and they turn in the asylum document that says , I am requesting asylum and it's six months after they turn in that document that they can get a work permit. But sometimes it takes them a year to fill out that paperwork , find an attorney to help them. To fill out that paperwork. They have up to a year to do that before they turn it in. So it's easily a year and a half before they're actually able to work and support themselves , which is part of why one of the requirements with the smartphone app is that you have to have a sponsor. And if you don't have a sponsor , you can't fill out the app to get an appointment to come request asylum in the United States. And there are asylum seekers who don't have sponsors. And so that is that is a big need in the community is where can I go and stay and be fed until I can sustain myself because I'm not allowed to.

S1: And question for all of you. So let's go back a little bit.

S3: Right. Kate mentioned it. It goes back to World War two and that national shame of turning back the Jewish refugees. And it's gone from being an obligation to being a burden. And even though Title 42 is gone now , there are active efforts in Congress to revive a version of it. So I think it that's the legacy. It's changed fundamentally how we view the asylum system.

S1: Yeah , it's almost like everybody knows the word asylum now. But go ahead.

S4: Yeah , I'm going to I'm going to piggyback I'm going to kind of go on that one. It was an effort to end asylum. It was almost from the start. It was the public health justifications of it were were questionable. And , you know , and it was just another attempt to shut down asylum. And it it became untenable and it's now taking other forms.

S2: So I think what Title 42 did as well and sort of piggyback , I agree with both of you guys said is also it really as we come out of it , the public perspective on asylum feels different in terms of who is motivated to continue to see it and how many people want to see asylum still be a thing that the United States does. I think there's there's a lot more debate in our country than there used to be about what the future of that should look like. You know , when Trump came into office , there immediately was a lot of talk about the asylum system and wanting to do something. And I think we really have seen that carry through the Biden administration. But even when you look historically , we've always had this sort of mentality that people coming to the border was something that needed to be stopped. Right ? And you look back at the Clinton administration , that's where we start seeing policies of deterrence written down on paper , where we are going to deter people. They are not going to come anymore. And and so it's not that it's a new idea , but I think it's a more completed objective for the government. And I think people are more okay with that than they might have been in the past.

S1: And as we wrap up the show here , let's get some final thoughts. Quick final thoughts , if possible. Question to everybody again , Gustavo , we can start with you.

S3: That's something to look at. But also just these reports coming out of Central and South America that show that the number of people fleeing those countries making their way up here isn't slowing down. So even though we have low apprehensions at the border right now , the the people on their way up here , that hasn't really changed all that much. So I think I mean , a lot of it comes down to the Biden administration with the CBP. One app is trying to keep the problem out of sight , is trying to handle the optics and not have masses of people at the border. But that doesn't mean these people don't exist. That doesn't mean these people are fleeing conditions in their countries that haven't changed since May 11th. Those are still those push factors are still there.

S1: And May 11th , obviously , is when Title 42 went away.

S4: And , you know , interesting point that Gustavo made about the optics. I think the whole Biden's approach of carrot and stick , which is like open up all these new legal pathways with CBP , one with parole for 30 , 30,000 a month from Haiti , Nicaragua , Cuba and Venezuela. That's a significant number. Is that going to survive ? There's some legal battles. Is is that going to survive in court ? Is the asylum band going to survive in court ? That's this whole structure that you. I'll be watching that. But but the numbers are going to going to continue. I think like like Gustavo was saying , I just don't know when and where and how. So I'll be watching all of that.

S1: And it's definitely a lot. And Kate , you have the final word here.

S2: So whenever asylum or access to asylum gets restricted , we see people trying to sneak into the country more. And that leads to more death because those are more dangerous ways. And we also see people being sent back to dangerous situations because they didn't qualify under the restrictions. And that also leads to more death. And so I think keeping an eye on what all of that actually looks like and who's affected and how are they affected and really telling those stories of of the people who get left out by these restrictions , I think is going to be an important thing to look at going.

S1: I know you guys will all do a great job of that , but we're going to have to end it there for this week's edition of Kpbs Roundtable. Gustavo Solis from Kpbs News. Elliot Baggett from the Associated Press and Kate Morrissey from the San Diego Union Tribune. Thank you all so much for being here.

S5: Thank you , Matt. Thanks. Thanks.

S6: Thanks.

S1: All right. It's time for the roundtable roundup where we look at some other stories that are happening here in San Diego. And here to help us break it down is Kpbs roundtable producer Andrew Bracket. Andrew , what's up ? Hey , Matt. All right.

S7: We have just seen some new data come out saying the annual point in time homeless count. It increased about 20% from last year. And so now we're starting to see politicians respond. And , you know , we'll be hearing a lot more about that in the coming week , I think. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. And it's something that definitely , you know , impacts everybody. You know , the polling says that homelessness and how to tackle it is definitely one of the top things. And when you go somewhere like downtown , it's hard not to miss , you know , people living on the streets or seeing that. But when you look for me in terms of the unsheltered change , because part of this count , you know , they go out one night a year , hundreds of volunteers , and they're just literally walking around counting people. They also count people in shelters , but they're also counting people living in their cars , people on the streets , 25% increase in the unsheltered. So that's a little bit higher than the overall. Definitely not good. But we're looking at , you know , 5000 total people sheltered in the whole San Diego County and just over 5000 people that are unsheltered. And they say this is just a baseline count. So we're not counting everybody here , but just those they can find in one day. Yeah.

S7: Yeah. And there's actually an interesting piece in The Voice of San Diego kind of making the argument that it's not as much that homelessness has increased as much as the visibility of homeless and that we see a lot more on our streets , particularly in downtown San Diego. So it's something just to keep an eye on going forward for sure.

S1: And we're going to have to keep an eye on what the city of San Diego does with this proposed camping ban that would kind of outright ban encampments or tents in certain areas. We know that's coming up next week. All right.

S7: But the train line in San Clemente has closed once again. Debris from that earlier railroad closure again came on the railroad tracks and they had to shut it down. And I know they're trying to figure out there's some train service still in service , some bus service know it's unavailable through certain parts of Orange County. But again , it's just like the latest string of problems with this train line that they're obviously going to have to move or do some serious work to really fix it.

S1: Yeah , you kind of hinted at it right there every time one of these closures happens and it seems like there's been at least a few recently that are , you know , really just impacts people's lives where they go to work , where they go to school. It always brings back up that debate. You know , the tracks , if you've been on the train that goes up north , right along the coast. Right. Moving those inland is always a hot topic to bait something that's not cheap. But man , you really got a feel for people who are using that train line every single day. Well , Andrew , on a much lighter note , a more fun note , it sounds like that there's a pretty big event that's kicked off up north.

S7: Yeah , the San Diego County Fair is back up in Del Mar. It's open now. And the theme this year is has to do with outdoors. Getting outside. Yeah.

S1: Yeah. The great outdoors or something. Yeah , exactly. The fair is outside , but when you're outside there , you know , you get the smell of funnel cake and everything like that and deep fried turkey legs or bacon wrapped , whatever , you know , the fair. Definitely a fun place to go. They have concerts up there , all sorts of rides , petting zoos , different things like that.


S1: Matt , are you going to go this year.

S7: Thinking about it ? I don't know.

S1: I don't know. I mean , it might be time to , you know , make that happen. But I think one of the funnest things about the fair is , you know , it's going to run all the way through to July 4th. And that's when they do that big , big fireworks show. That's the roundtable roundup. Andrew , great to have you here. Thanks , Matt. That's going to do it for this week's edition of Kpbs Roundtable. And I want to thank everyone for being here. Kate Morrissey from the San Diego Union-Tribune Kpbs. Gustavo Solis and Elliot Baggott from the Associated Press. We've got some new music. This is the Surefire Soul Ensemble. Coming up next week on Roundtable , we'll be talking about homelessness and all the increases that our region has seen since last year. If you have any questions about the state of it in San Diego County , you can leave us a message at (619) 452-0228. We might play it on the air. Also , email us , roundtable at If you missed any part of the show , check out the Kpbs Roundtable podcast. Our show airs on Kpbs at noon on Fridays and again on Sunday at 6 a.m.. Roundtable is produced by Andrew Bracken , and Rebecca Chacon is our technical director. I'm your host , Matt Hoffman. Have a great weekend.

A man with a child speaks to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent. San Ysidro, Calif. May 10, 2023. CBP created a makeshift migrant camp in San Ysidro between the primary and secondary border walls. There are more than 400 migrants in the camp, including asylum seekers.
Mike Damron
A man with a child speaks to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent. San Ysidro, Calif. May 10, 2023. CBP created a makeshift migrant camp in San Ysidro between the primary and secondary border walls. There are more than 400 migrants in the camp, including asylum seekers.

Many predicted an increase in the number of people trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico once pandemic-era border restrictions known as Title 42 ended last month. But did that actually happen, and what has been the impact in the San Diego-Tijuana border region?


Kate Morrissey, immigration and border reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune

Gustavo Solis, border reporter, KPBS

Elliot Spagat, immigration team lead and San Diego correspondent, the Associated Press