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Biden’s new executive order to help immigrant spouses of US citizens

 June 19, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Emilyn Mohebbi, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, June 19th… and it's also a holiday… Juneteenth.


San Diegans react to President Biden’s executive order that would allow immigrant spouses of U-S citizens to apply for permanent residency. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The county’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, is retiring after 23 years of service.

She was the county's lead doctor for 17 years of that time.

County officials in a statement said, during her career, Dr. Wooten prioritized the prevention and control of infectious disease, protection from environmental hazards and promoted injury prevention.

They also said she reinforced healthy lifestyles, emergency preparedness and fought to eliminate health disparities in underserved communities.

Dr. Wooten was also at the forefront of the county's COVID-19 response.


With the official start to summer just one day away, we are feeling the heat!

Temperatures continue to rise this week.

Today in the inland and mountain areas, temps will be in the high 70s, in the deserts, temperatures will reach 104, and by the coast, it’ll be in the high 60s.

The National Weather Service says light wind is expected throughout most parts of the county.

And here’s a little weather fun fact: tomorrow (Thursday) will feel like the longest day of the year, with the Summer Solstice creating the longest period of daylight and the shortest night.


And just a reminder… all county offices, public health clinics, family resource centers, libraries and animal shelters are closed today (Wednesday) for Juneteenth.

But county parks, campgrounds and neighborhood day-use parks will be open.

Essential services, including law enforcement and emergency animal control, will be available through the holiday.

And for the city of San Diego… administrative offices, libraries, swimming pools, and recreation centers will also be closed for the holiday.

All county and San Diego City offices will resume normal business hours tomorrow (Thursday).


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now. Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


Immigrant spouses of U-S citizens and their children will be able to apply for lawful permanent residency, thanks to an executive order announced by President Joe Biden yesterday (Tuesday).

Reporter Andrew Dyer has more.

“These couples have been raising families,  sending their kids to church and school, paying taxes, contributing to our country …” advocates and lawmakers were on-hand for the long-rumored policy change announcement. biden’s executive order applies to undocumented spouses who’ve lived in the u.s. at least ten years and their children. tammy lin is a professor and runs the immigration law clinic at university of san diego. she says the change will be felt especially in san diego, including among the so-called “dreamers” here under daca. tammy lin, attorney, usd immigration clinic “i have a lot of daca clients who've been here since they were little married, u.s citizens, and for whatever reason, it's been a long journey to even try to fix their status and their kids, almost, you know, maybe graduating fifth grade at this point.” the policy, sometimes called “parole in place,” isn’t new. the plan was already an option for spouses of u.s. service members and their families. the white house says the change could affect up to half a million people and 50,000 children. lin says those affected by the change should get their documents ready but cautions against paying anyone until they talk to an attorney or a reputable immigration organization. andrew dyer, kpbs news.


San Diego firefighters are helping fight the “Post” Fire near Gorman, California.

Reporter Katie Anastas says thick, dry vegetation is keeping the fire burning.

The Post Fire has burned more than 15,600 acres in the northwest corner of Los Angeles County since Saturday. It’s 24% contained as of Tuesday afternoon. Cal Fire says nearly 1,700 personnel have been assigned to the fire — including 22 from San Diego. San Diego Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Dan Eddy says dense vegetation from heavy rains is now fuel for wildfires. EDDY Having a fire that large, Southern California, earlier than July shows me and should show San Diegans the fact that we’re drying out. Another group of San Diego firefighters just returned from Riverside County, where the Lisa Fire is now 100% contained. The causes of both fires are under investigation. Katie Anastas, KPBS News.


The U-S Military has been increasing its focus on training for tunnel warfare.

Underground fighting goes back centuries, but it's become more common in recent years.

And the elaborate tunnels Hamas has built in Gaza have brought new attention to one of the most dangerous forms of combat.

Jay Price reports for the American Homefront Project.

PRICE: Geopolitical foes like China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia have long built tunnels and bunkers to shield their militaries. And in recent years, Hamas and other groups have followed suit. So the U.S. military has responded - building tunnel warfare training facilities like this one at Fort Liberty, with nearly two-thirds of a mile of disorienting twists and turns, hatches and doorways. PRICE: In this exercise, a small Special Forces team slipped into a house. But their main target fled into a tunnel entrance hidden in a back room. They tossed a flash-bang, a grenade designed to disorient. PRICE: The soldier playing the role of the high-value target scrambled farther, trying to lure them into a smaller tunnel where they’d be easier to kill. Eventually, though, they found another entrance behind him, and caught him. The role-player was a staff sergeant named Adrian; the Army allows special operations soldiers to be identified only by their first names. He said soldiers need a really good reason to enter tunnels, where they're usually at a disadvantage. ADRIAN: You have no idea how big the tunnel system is or how small it is, how compressed it is, how dense it is. Where's the obstacles, is there a trip wires, is there false doors, PRICE: Mike Murray oversees the sprawling base’s dozens of training ranges. He helped plan the elaborate newer section of the tunnels, which was finished in 2020. MURRAY: We tried to make it as complicated as possible PRICE: Some tunnels open into spacious rooms that could be used for say, a command center, medical treatment or storing arms.Others squeeze down until you’re crawling. MURRAY: …and now you're on your hands and knees type area in complete darkness. Maybe your elbows are banging the side of the side of the walls. PRICE: There’s good reason the U.S. and other nations are doing more of this kind of training, says Daphné Richemond-Barak, author of the book “Underground Warfare,” and an assistant professor at Reichman University in Israel.RICHEMOND-BARAK: For the last two decades, this tactic has indeed become more popular with non-state actors. PRICE: For groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and al-Qaeda that the U.S. and other nations designate as terrorists, going underground helps them blunt the technological and numerical advantages of the militaries hunting them. RICHEMOND-BARAK: And it is spreading as a global … threat and we witness uses of tunnel warfare on virtually every single battlefield since 9-11. PRICE: Underground warfare goes back to, well, cave dwellers.But perhaps the best-known cases in RECENT history were in Vietnam, where the Viet Cong dug vast complexes, including at least one with more than a hundred miles of tunnels. John Keaveney was sent into those complexes. He was one of the U.S. troops known as "Tunnel rats." KEAVENEY: You learn to use your senses because it's very dark. And so, you know, you'd learn to smell things and listen good,. PRICE: He crawled into tunnels more than 50 times. Waiting inside he found booby traps, snakes, spiders and sometimes enemy fighters. The stress contributed to what he now knows was PTSD. KEAVENEY: I came home and I didn't know what was wrong with me. I thought I just spent too much time in the tunnels. PRICE: Richemond-Barak - the professor - says those psychological effects are a key reason troops need to be trained for the fighting underground. RICHEMOND-BARAK: You lose your sense of space, your sense of direction, your sense of time, And the silence and nature of this darkness really takes you by surprise, PRICE: The U.S. military is also developing technology like robots that can explore and map tunnel systems and communication devices that can work underground. But Richemond-Barak says there's no substitute for training exercises like the one at Fort Liberty - where troops can get used to how their minds and bodies react to one of the toughest forms of combat. I'm Jay Price reporting.

TAG: This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American Military life and veterans.



Those outdoor patios commonly used in the space of a parking spot on city streets, were a lifeline for local businesses during the pandemic.

Reporter Alexander Nguyen says one North County city is now going to make those businesses pay for the space.

Busy parklet noises Downtown in Encinitas is bustling with shoppers and restaurant goers this afternoon. And patio seating is a popular option on a sunny afternoon. But these patios that were supposed to be a temporary solution … have become a fixture in the city. But come August … these restaurants and bars will have to pay a fee to keep these parklets. Approved last week by the Encinitas city council, businesses will have to pay a fee of 2 dollars and 50 cents per square foot for the loss of parking spaces. Culture Brewing Company owner John Niedernhofer supports the fee. John Niedernhofer Owner, Culture Brewing Co. “If you want something that has value, it should be paid for. And it has value to the city.” A couple doors down from Culture Brewing is Encinitas Barber Shop. Owner Raul Villamar says business is down 40 to 60 percent because of the parklets. Raul Villamar Owner, Encinitas Barber Shop “We don't have any parking. And my customers keep on complaining.” There are 27 outdoor dining parklets in the city … taking up 59 public parking spots. The city is looking at options to make these parklets permanent.

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Some San Diego Unified students honored this week’s national Juneteenth holiday… by raising a flag over the district’s headquarters.

Education reporter M.G. Perez has more on the event that provided a significant history lesson.

“Let our rejoicing rise…” With the Black national anthem playing …a group of elementary and middle school students took time from their summer vacation to honor their heritage and the national holiday celebrating the end of slavery across America in 18-65. “Juneteenth is a special holiday that celebrates the freedom of African Americans from slavery.” That’s 11-year-old Kaylin Stewart who will be a 6th grader at Taft Middle School this fall. The San Diego Unified School District has made a tradition of flying flags that show unity and diversity. The Juneteenth flag is red, white, and blue …in a formation that represents a promising horizon for the Black community …with a star that confirms they are American… Says Elleisha Elzien the district’s resource teacher of youth advocacy “Juneteenth is a significant date in American history…some folks might think it’s just a Black history event…when really …Black Xhistory is American history.” MGP KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories. I’m Emilyn Mohebbi. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

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Immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens and their children will be able to apply for lawful permanent residency, thanks to an executive order announced by President Joe Biden Tuesday. In other news, San Diego firefighters are helping fight the Post Fire near Gorman, California. Plus, some San Diego Unified students honored this week’s national Juneteenth holiday by raising a flag over the district’s headquarters.