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Waitlist For Asylum-Seekers In Tijuana Now At Its Highest Number Ever And More Local News

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This week, the list of migrants waiting to enter the United States through the San Ysidro port of entry reached over 9,000. Plus, President Trump abandons his effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, Vice President Mike Pence visits San Diego navy bases and the family of a man who was shot and killed by San Diego police in 2015 has their suit reinstated by a federal appeals court.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Friday, June 12th. I'm Andrew Bowen. And you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. The list of asylum seekers waiting in Tijuana to enter the United States hits an all time high. And how do you bring a rodent to life on stage, particularly um, small animals, animals that in life probably aren't big enough to carry the weight of an emotional moment on stage. We'll go behind the scenes at the gloves of world premier musical, the tale of desperate that and more San Diego news stories after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:32 Mm.

Speaker 3: 00:33 Thank you for downloading the San Diego news matters podcast. I'm Andrew Bowen for over a year, asylum seekers in Tijuana have been putting their names on an unofficial list in a notebook which saves them a place in line for the few asylum proceedings. Lots the U s makes available to each day. This week, the list in the book reached over 9,000 people. Its highest number ever. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin. Nadler looks at how it's gotten to this point. As thousands of asylum seekers have arrived at the southern border, the United States has instituted a policy. It refers to as a metering which limits the number of people that accepts for possible asylum at ports of entry each day. Recently, those numbers, which weren't very high to begin with, have nosedived fewer and fewer names or being called from the book. Shane Mulligan works for aloe, throw Lotto, a legal services organization based into Quanta,

Speaker 4: 01:24 there's only been an average of three numbers I called every day for the past month. Um, there's been a lot of distress and frustration regarding the metering system.

Speaker 3: 01:34 Mulligan says this has pushed wait times up to seven to nine months for people signing up for the list. This week, the Department of Homeland Security has set in court that it instituted metering at the southern border due to the lack of bed space at ports of entry. KPBS has learned that many individuals being sent back to Mexico to await their asylum claims are being held in detention for days at the port of entry before being returned to Mexico. This further crowding of the port of entry has contributed to a ballooning waitlist and increasingly desperate asylum seekers on the Mexican side. Max Riverland Adler KPBS News, the family of a San Diego man shot to death by police have had their lawsuit against the city reinstated by a federal appellate court. KPBS editor Tom Fudge tells us about the case of for Dune Rashawn Nihad Nihad Hod

Speaker 5: 02:22 was walking in an alley in the midway district when a San Diego police officer killed him with one shot. Nihad was a refugee from Afghanistan who had a history of mental illness. People called the policing. The HUD was talking about hurting people and was armed with a knife, but Nihad was unarmed when he was killed and carrying nothing more than a pen. The district court ruled to summary Judgment for the police saying the officer's use of force was objective Lee reasonable, but on Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Overturn that decision. They said there are real questions about the officer's credibility and whether Ne Hahn's actions caught by a surveillance camera posed a danger to police or anyone else, the lawyer for Free Dune. The Hud's family says he looks forward to the trial. The San Diego city attorney says they're reviewing the ruling. Tom Fudge, gay PBS news.

Speaker 3: 03:13 Vice President Mike Pence was in San Diego on Thursday visiting members of the military and Coronado KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman was there. Ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the United States,

Speaker 6: 03:29 [inaudible]

Speaker 7: 03:29 vice president at Penn spoke onboard the coast guard cutter Monroe with nearly 40,000 pounds of cocaine seats in the Pacific Ocean stacked up behind him. Penn says the drugs come from Central American and Mexican traffickers

Speaker 5: 03:41 and the cartels that fueled their deadly trades represent one of the greatest national security and public health threats to the American people. These criminal organizations in Central America are also helping to fuel the crisis at our southern border.

Speaker 7: 03:55 Critics say the Trump administration misrepresents the crisis at the border and people are coming here because they are fleeing crime and violence in their home countries. Pence is expected to head to Texas to tour border detention facilities. On Friday. Matt Hoffman, K PBS news.

Speaker 3: 04:09 Federal scientists say sea level rise is already boosting the number of flooding incidents during high tides in southern California. KPBS reporter Eric Anderson has details.

Speaker 8: 04:20 High tide flooding is expected to become more common in coming years. National Oceanic and atmospheric administration. Scientists say the San Diego region is expected to have five to nine days of high tide flooding. This year alone. Study Coauthor William Sweet says the trend is for even more as sea levels rise.

Speaker 9: 04:40 High tide flooding is increasing every year and it's something that communities are going to have to start to reckon with and these reports are put out to communities can be best prepared. Well, what to expect in terms of flooding today, tomorrow in the years to come,

Speaker 8: 04:57 sweet says high tide flooding days are expected to happen between 10 and 15 times by 2030 the projection for 2050 is 30 to 60 incidents a year. He says local officials will be pressured to find solutions. Eric Anderson, KPBS News,

Speaker 3: 05:15 California is poised to set aside billions of dollars to help power companies pay for wildfire damages. Capital public is Nick Miller says, Governor Gavin Newsome has indicated he'll sign the fire liability bill sent to his desk on Thursday. The state legislature rushed the measure through this week after threats that Wall Street would lower power companies credit ratings. The law would extend a fee that already appears on rate payers bills and this fee would generate more than $10 billion. That money would go into a fund that power companies could then dip into to pay off damages if their equipment is found responsible for a wildfire. The proposal also could require utilities to match the rate contribution. If they want to access the money, they would also have to meet safety standards. The bill is complicated and lawmakers in both parties expressed concerns, but it passed through the legislature in four days and the governor is expected to sign it on Friday in Sacramento.

Speaker 3: 06:12 I'm Nick Miller. Presidential candidates may need to release their tax returns to appear on future ballots in California capitol public radio. Scott Rod reports on a proposal heading to Governor Gavin Newson's desk. The legislation does not identify a specific candidate, but one name came up repeatedly in legislative hearings. Trump, president Trump has refused to release his tax returns starting an ongoing audit by the IRS. If Newsome signs the bill, Trump will have to release his taxes or else not appear on California's 2020 ballot. The same would apply to all candidates running for president and governor. While Newsome released six years of tax returns during the 2018 election, there's no guarantee he'll sign the bill. His predecessor, Jerry Brown, vetoed a similar proposal. Brown declined to release his tax returns while running for governor. A spokesperson for Trump's 2020 campaign says the bill would be unconstitutional setting up yet another potential fight between the president in the Golden State in Sacramento. I'm Scott. Rod Medicaid provides healthcare to low income people and California is now set to become the first state to offer it to undocumented immigrants up to age 26 it's part of a bigger plan to eventually make sure everyone in the state has coverage. California is making the move at a time when the Trump administration and some other states are trying to restrict who gets government health benefits. Capitol public radio. Sammy Kay Yola has the story

Speaker 10: 07:37 for most of Beatrice [inaudible] life. The doctor's office has been a last resort. So like when you get sick, a home remedies are all, you know, your life, you know, so it's just basically like a suck it up, you know, type of thing. She's 19 years old and moved to California with her family from Mexico when she was a toddler. She and her parents aren't citizens, so they're excluded from medical. That's California's version of Medicaid. But starting in January, California will allow Beatrice and other undocumented people to get medical from the age of 19 until they turn 26 Beatrice's hoping this new policy will give her access to mental health counseling. Even though she's applying for citizenship, she's still pretty stressed out about her legal status. The world isn't always so welcoming, you know, it can be really, really overwhelming. You know, it exhausts you mentally and it's almost like I have no time to feel, feel anything because there's always something else I go have to do. In California, undocumented kids 18 and under are already eligible for comprehensive medical. Undocumented adults are only covered if it's for emergency or pregnancy care. Supporters of the expansion to cover young adults say getting more people coverage will improve public health and cut down on hospital costs, but opponents don't want to spend state dollars on people they consider illegal residents. Republican Senator Jeff Stone spoke against the expansion at a recent hearing.

Speaker 3: 09:08 We are going to be a magnet that is going to further attract people to a state of California. This of willing to ride a blank check to anyone that wants to come here.

Speaker 10: 09:24 President Donald Trump called out California on this.

Speaker 11: 09:27 You look at what they're doing in California, how they're treating people. They don't treat their people as well as they treat illegal immigrants.

Speaker 10: 09:34 California Governor Gavin Newson responded by saying the state embraces all of its residents and he says, offering coverage to everyone is the eventual goal.

Speaker 3: 09:43 We believe in universal healthcare, universal.

Speaker 11: 09:46 So healthcare is a right and we're delivering it regardless of immigration status to everyone up there to 26 and we're going to get the rest of that done. Mark my words, there were

Speaker 10: 09:56 puzzles this year to offer insurance to even more people in this state, like undocumented seniors, but those efforts failed because of the potential cost. Almost Saeed is with the California Immigrant Policy Center. She says providing healthcare is crucial given federal anti-immigrant hostility.

Speaker 12: 10:13 Young people feel that too. Um, but this proposal to expand medic to undocumented young adults is really a message that institutions are accessible to you regardless of status. Um, you belong here and you deserve to thrive.

Speaker 10: 10:28 When the medical guidelines change in January, Beatrice best auto plans to sign up. She's lived in California almost her whole life. It's her home. She's going to college near Los Angeles and wants to be an environmental scientist. Beatrice says getting insurance will make her feel a little more like a Californian. I do belong here regardless of what others say, but it's, it doesn't become permanent until I see that on a piece of paper. California expects to enroll 138,000 undocumented young people next year at a cost of $98 million in Sacramento. I'm Sammy k Yola

Speaker 3: 11:05 Kate de Camillo's book, the tale of desperate one, the new barrier board in 2004 before becoming an animated film from universal. Now the old globe is partnering with pig Pen Theater Company to Bring Deek Miller's book to this stage. KPBS arts reporter Beth OCHA. Mondo explains how cardboard and flashlights are bringing the adventures of a heroic mouse to life.

Speaker 13: 11:28 Game of Thrones proved that with today's technology, even stories of pure fantasy can be rendered with an air of realism. Pig Pen theater company prefers to engage its audience with something less high tech and you're going to see us pull out a bed sheet and a cardboard puppet and light it and you'll understand immediately what's happening. Aria Shah, he is a founding member of pig pen. He insists there can be emotional depth and things that are anything but realistic. There is a pact that you make with the audience almost before the show begins where we just kind of set the stage and then indicate that we're going to ask you to go on an imagination trip with us because that's what we did kind of coming up as a company is we couldn't rely on the CGI budget. We could rely on bedsheets, but that low tech approach creates a magic unique. The theater [inaudible] fellow pig pen founder Brian Milia.

Speaker 14: 12:18 Part of the fun of using puppets is to surprise the audience and making them go, oh shoot. By the end of the show, like I actually am connected to this thing that I did know is going to, you know, make me feel this way.

Speaker 13: 12:30 The challenge in adapting the tail of Desperado to the stage was to get the audience to connect with a mouse and Arad as main characters. How do you do small animals? Animals that in life probably aren't big enough to uh, carry the weight of an emotional moment on stage. The solution shy. He in his pig pen collaborators came up with involved mixing their favorite stage inventions with some new elements. We're using three dimensional puppets that are kind of a little bit larger than life so you can see them, but uh, that really indicate like how small these characters are. Uh, we're using actors that just portray the characters, um, without any kind of costume pieces or anything.

Speaker 15: 13:08 Name exactly why when I trained dog [inaudible]

Speaker 13: 13:17 actress Betsy Morgan is new to pink pants style of theater and enjoyed the challenge of interacting with a rodent puppet in her hand.

Speaker 16: 13:24 I'm playing one character and then I'm trying to keep the life of the puppet, which is a totally different being alive. So for me it was always about making sure that that puppet character was independent and living and breathing while I was singing as the other character. So it's a little bit of like, like rubbing your stomach and tapping your head at the same time.

Speaker 13: 13:45 Neilia plays the narrator who helps pull the audience into the world of desperate row. I just walked behind you back. If you promised to bring it back to me, I'll help you get back upstairs. I've got no idea.

Speaker 14: 13:56 Part of the appeal of doing this story was the idea that in the book it invites you into the story. It's a very personal relationship that you have with the voice of the book, the narrator. And uh, we saw that as a quick link to the way that in theater, the invitation to the audience to contribute their imaginations is as important as us contributing our imaginations.

Speaker 13: 14:23 Morgan sees it as an invitation for the audience to be creative with the artists on stage.

Speaker 16: 14:28 We do this show that looks very technically beautiful, but when you get down to it, because of the brilliance of our designers, Jason and Isabella, we have a show that is not very technically advanced. It's basically all we're working with are puppets, which are made by cardboard cutouts and sheets. Like these are all very, um, homemade things. I think that that's inspiring as an audience member to come and watch something that you can do at home. This. I mean, if I were a kid coming to see this production, I would most certainly go home and start making puppets.

Speaker 13: 15:03 The charm of this production stems from its sincere investment in the story, and it's do it yourself. Ingenuity that never tries to hide the fact that sometimes it's just a flashlight, a bed sheet, and a piece of cardboard.

Speaker 16: 15:16 You'll understand how we're doing these things and we are doing all of them, but you'll find moments where hopefully there'll be a spark of wonder and joy because you don't know how we're doing it, but you know that there's nothing helping us.

Speaker 13: 15:27 No Green screen, no CGI, no d box vibrating seats. Just artists asking audiences to take a leap of faith and seeing the wondrous places that imagination can take them. Like Amando, KPBS news, the tale of desborough a world premier musical runs through August 11th at the old globe theater. Thanks for listening to the San Diego News matters podcast. I'm Andrew Bowen. You can find more news stories online@kpbs.org.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.