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Trump Moves To Effectively End Asylum At Southern Border And More Local News

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Reversing decades of U.S. policy, the Trump administration says it will end all asylum protections for most migrants who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. So what does that mean for asylum-seekers in Tijuana? Plus, San Diego City Council approves a new law requiring gun owners to lock up their guns and San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot campaigns for reelection.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, July 16th. I'm Deb Walsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. The Trump administration says it will end all of the silent protections for most migrants arriving at the border and San Diego city attorney is campaigning to keep her job while critics say her office has become politicized. So a lot of the decisions I've made come from being a woman, a woman of color, a mother who is raising her children that more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break.

Speaker 2: 00:31 Um,

Speaker 3: 00:33 thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welsh. A new rural issue jointly by the Department of Justice and Homeland Security sent to take effect today would radically alter US asylum law. It would require asylum seekers to apply for asylum in any countries they travel through. Before reaching the u s KPBS reporter Max Rivlin never crossed the border to see how the new rule, which is sure to be challenged in court, would impact the thousands of asylum seekers currently waiting to cross into the u s

Speaker 4: 01:05 in Tijuana. The proposed new rule which would prohibit people from applying for asylum if they travel through a third country like Mexico underscores a harsh new reality that very few people, if any, are being allowed through the port of entry each day. It's now been four consecutive days where no new numbers have been called off the unofficial list on which asylum seekers wait for months for their chance to apply for asylum. Speaking to asylum seekers, most were unaware of the new rule set to take effect. Tuesday Tony and asylum seeker from Cameroon told me applying for asylum and one of the countries he's traveled through to arrive in Mexico would be impossible due to the discrimination he's faced and the language barrier.

Speaker 5: 01:46 You can see that let Lydos a secret silo just anywhere does it do any or the county that would get it. What if that county is not as a free as United States? What if you have communication barrier? The language barrier,

Speaker 4: 02:05 regardless if the new rule goes into effect Tuesday or not, the status quo into Quanta will possibly remain the same even as more and more people arrive. Very few people are being let in into Quanta. I'm Max with Lyndon Adler k PBS news

Speaker 3: 02:20 regulations regarding the storage of guns in San Diego got tougher. Monday afternoon, the city council approved a new law requiring people to lock up their guns or use trigger locks. KPBS reporter John Carroll says scores of people on both sides gave the council an ear full.

Speaker 6: 02:36 The council voted six to two to approve the ordinance. It was opposed by council members, Scott Sherman and Chris Kate. The proposal comes from city attorney Mara Elliott. She says it's needed primarily to protect children from getting their hands on firearms. The Safe Storage of firearms ordinance requires guns be stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock unless they're carried on a person's body.

Speaker 7: 03:00 This is a no brainer for San Diego and we've had some terrible tragedies here and I think we all want to work together to protect people from having access to weapons who should not,

Speaker 6: 03:11 but scores of people who spoke in opposition say the regulation infringes on their rights. They say even a few extra seconds trying to get into a locked cabinet or trying to disable a trigger lock could make all the difference. 15 other California cities have safe storage laws. John Carroll KPBS News,

Speaker 3: 03:31 famous trademarks at Yosemite National Park, including the Ahwahnee hotel are coming back after a few years of legal disputes. Capitol public radio's Randall white has more.

Speaker 7: 03:41 Back in 2016 the Ahwahnee was renamed the Majestic Yosemite Badger paths became Yosemite ski and Snowboard area and the will won'to was suddenly called big trees lodge. Iconic place names tied up in a legal dispute with the parks. Previous vendor, Delaware north, which claimed it owned the trademarks. After three years in the courts, there's now a settlement with that company, the federal government and Aramark. The current concessionaire.

Speaker 8: 04:06 The way it's set up is that Aramark in effect is purchasing these trademarks through the duration of the contract. In 2031 and at the end of their contract, the ownership will revert back to the federal government.

Speaker 7: 04:20 Yosemite spokesman Scott Gettleman says, the government will pay more than three point $8 million. Aramark more than 8 million. He says signs are already being changed back to their original names, starting with curry village. Just minutes after the deal was signed in Sacramento. I'm Randall white.

Speaker 3: 04:36 The overall number of refugee resettlements in Arizona has dropped in recent years, but the state's population of people who fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo is still growing from KJ easy's front terrorists desk in Phoenix. Matthew Casey reports

Speaker 7: 04:51 state statistics show the roughly 1100 Congolese refugees who have come to Arizona since October, 2017 are the most from any one country. Still. They're a fraction of those. The United Nations says we're forced to flee violence in the Congo in June alone. Lilyanne Ferdinand is a cultural health navigator at Maricopa medical centers clinic for refugee women. She says more than half of the patients are Congolese when you were with them. I don't feel like the patient, I see them as my sisters. My mother Congolese refugees started coming to Arizona 20 years ago and the annual count peaked in 2016 there has been a yearly drop since, but the Congo is not included in the travel ban upheld by the supreme court last year in Phoenix. I'm Matthew Casey

Speaker 3: 05:37 in 2012 California eliminated its system for tracking sexual harassment complaints in government that left a gap in the state's ability to monitor misconduct capitol, public radio. Scott Rod has this investigation.

Speaker 7: 05:51 The me too movement exposed the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in state government. Just how that's a question. California officials wished they could answer. Here's a Rhino Ortega head of California's Department of Human Resources.

Speaker 9: 06:04 When the issue was really at the height of interest last year, there wasn't an ability to even answer questions about what the state's experience was.

Speaker 7: 06:14 The state eliminated its system for monitoring harassment and discrimination complaints years ago amid budget cuts and government consolidation. Some say that's undermined California's ability to address misconduct.

Speaker 10: 06:26 It is unbelievable to me to think that when you consolidate state government, the one thing that falls off the table is the tracking of sexual harassment.

Speaker 7: 06:38 Sarah res is a former assembly woman who focused on sexual harassment prevention in office.

Speaker 10: 06:43 We shouldn't wonder why we're talking about the me too movement and the legislature when they didn't make it a priority.

Speaker 7: 06:49 Last year, former governor Jerry Brown formed a working group that recommended California at re-establish its complaint tracking system. Mary Bell Bouchier led California's government operations agency until last week. She now heads the California Public Utilities Commission. She was part of the working group under Brown and says the new system will launch early next year, but simply having it in place isn't enough.

Speaker 10: 07:13 Senior leadership has to use that information and make management decisions about, oh, I have x amount of complaints coming in from that unit over there in my department. What's going on in that unit?

Speaker 7: 07:25 She says that way the next time questions emerge about sexual harassment in government, the state will be ready with answers in Sacramento. I'm Scott Rod,

Speaker 3: 07:34 when Governor Gavin Newsom signed California's new wildfire liability law last week. He also named his pick for one of the most crucial and challenging jobs in state government. The lead regulator for utilities such as P, g, and d capital public radio has been Adler reports.

Speaker 9: 07:51 Maribel batcher has worked for four governors in two states and two political parties. After earlier stints for Pete Wilson or Arnold Schwarzenegger in Nevada, Republican Kenny Gwyn, Jerry Brown named her as the first ever leader of California's new government operations agency. Earlier this decade. Then just days after Newsome's inauguration this year, he asked her to lead a strike team to fix the states and battled department of motor vehicles at the time. Newsome's office called Batcher, one of the most accomplished management experts in state government. Now she'll serve as president of the California public utilities commission, which also regulates telecom giants like a t, and t and even ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. She'll lead the agency's upcoming debates on when utilities can pass wildfire recovery costs onto rate payers at the state capitol. I'm Ben Adler,

Speaker 3: 08:39 San Diego city attorney Maura Elliott is campaigning to keep her job. She has endorsements from a number of elected officials. She is also combating criticism from opponent Corey Briggs in an interview last week, he says the city attorney's office has become politicized. Elliot

Speaker 1: 08:55 responded to that criticism in an interview with KPBS evening edition Anchor Ebony Monet. Well, it's been two and a half years and I think when the voters elected me, they gave me a mandate and they expected me to protect San Diego. So I've put all of our resources in doing that, whether it's protecting people from gun violence or domestic violence or sex trafficking. So we've, we've covered a lot of ground in two and a half years. In 2016 when you first ran for city attorney, you ran on a platform of transparency. You even talked about your desire to create a database that could be accessed by the public where people could access police body camera footage. Where do you stand on that now? I think it's extremely important for government to be as open as possible and as transparent as possible with the public. And I still strongly believe that we need to do that.

Speaker 1: 09:45 So I've advocated to have a person who is responsible under SB four 1421 to be able to produce police records when requested. I am in the community as much as possible, whether it's at forums or going to city council meetings every Tuesday so that I can answer directly to the public. We have brought policies before the public that have never been publicly discussed so that they can understand how the city is doing business. It's extremely important for us to be out there explaining what our work is telling the public about how they can use the city attorney's office to keep them safe. So you are San Diego's first woman, the city attorney. What does that mean for you? It means a lot to me because the city has been in existence forever and we've always had men leading the legal office, the largest municipal law firm in San Diego County, and it was time for a woman to step up.

Speaker 1: 10:38 We see things differently. The way I address issues is very much I'm looking out for to protect San Diego. I'm a mother. So I think that that is driven a lot of my agenda, whether it's protecting children from abuses or victims of domestic violence and trafficking. Today we have a Safe Storage of firearms ordinance we're bringing to the city council. We have a concern about, um, firearms that are in the home that are not secured because we have seen that children are very curious by nature and they will access a firearm if it's not locked up. And we want to make sure that kids are kept safe. So a lot of the decisions I've made come from being a woman, a woman of color, a mother who is raising her children and really understands what San Diegans need so that they feel invested in their community and they feel protected, whether it's protecting our finances or protecting our public safety.

Speaker 1: 11:31 And I bring to the table over 20 years of municipal law experience. I know what I'm doing. I know that office inside and out and I have the trust of the attorneys that I lead. So if we can, um, talk about some of the decisions you've made while in office. For instance, regarding the Mission Valley Stadium Site, you filed a lawsuit to keep the competing ballot measures off the regarding the Mission Valley Stadium site. Um, what do you say to critics including um, San Diego attorney, Corey Briggs, who's also running for the city attorney's office who say that your recommendations about the Mission Valley Stadium site and the lawsuit were politically motivated and cost the city a lot of money? Well, I think anytime you make difficult decisions and that was a difficult decision, you're going to get an accusation that it was political. I think that the voters, when they elected me back in 2016 had very, they had five diverse choices to make and I was very honest about who I was and how I was going to stand up for the taxpayer regardless. This is an important property in San Diego. It's one of our largest properties and it's owned by the taxpayers. So it's concerning when a developer puts an initiative before the voters and it's been negotiated behind closed doors, it hasn't been subject to a competitive bidding process. And I wanted to make sure that San Diego was getting the best deal possible and that this was something that was illegal, and the voters want me to ask those questions. They want me to defend their rights to their property.

Speaker 3: 13:03 That was San Diego city attorney Mara Elliott. She spoke with KPBS evening edition Anchor Ebony Monet. Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. For more KPBS podcasts, go to Kay pbs.org/podcasts.

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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.