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CBP has access to SD County crime data

 July 26, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Wednesday, July 26th.


Why advocates are worried about a contract that gives C-B-P access to San Diego’s crime data. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


A federal judge has blocked a rule that allows immigration authorities to deny asylum to migrants who arrive at the U-S-Mexico border without first applying online or seeking protection in a country they passed through.

But the judge delayed his ruling from taking effect immediately, to give the Biden administration time to appeal.

The order takes away a key enforcement tool set in place by the administration as coronavirus-based restrictions on asylum expired in May.


A heat advisory for the county’s valley areas will be in effect until 8 tonight.

Temps are expected to reach up to 105 degrees in Escondido, El Cajon, San Marcos, La Mesa, Santee and Poway.

The National Weather Service says the hot weather will continue all week.

But the weather will cool down a bit next week, when temperatures are expected to be closer to average for this time of year.


Some medical staff at Kaiser’s Zion Medical Center in Grantville are planning to protest today.

They’re one of more than 40 Kaiser facilities in the state that are picketing this week.

The demonstrations are over ongoing worker shortages that staff say can lead to long wait times, mistaken diagnoses and neglect.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kaiser said in a statement it’s currently in contract negotiations with the Coalition of Kaiser Unions.

Kaiser San Diego says there are currently no plans to reschedule procedures because of the protest.


Immigrant advocates say a deal between SANDAG and immigration officials violates the spirit of California’s sanctuary laws.

“We would argue, in general, that this entanglement, collusion between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies across the board is going to lead to lack of community trust which makes all of us less safe.” 

More on that story, coming up, after the break.


A relatively unknown contract that gives Customs and Border Protection access to San Diego County’s crime data has advocates worried.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis has the story.

In response to the Trump Administration’s hardline immigration policies, California passed a series of laws that protect immigrants. Those laws limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Advocates now say a deal between the San Diego Association of Governments and Customs and Border Protection violates the spirit of those laws. In June, CBP renewed a contract worth $131,000 that grants them access to the ARJIS criminal database. (Show contract) ARJIS contains information from every law enforcement agency in the county. It includes arrests, traffic citations and data from license plate readers. (Show contract) Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez, Law Professor What this access to the ARJIS databased does do is it means that the relationship between a person having an encounter with a local police officer and that encounter then becoming an immigration problem is increased.” Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez studies what he calls crimmigration - which is how minor criminal activity can lead to serious immigration consequences. He says sharing this data with CBP puts immigrants at risk of being deported for something like driving with an expired registration. To be clear,SANDAG isn’t breaking any laws by sharing this data. But Garcia Hernandez says local leaders need to think beyond the letter of the law. “From the perspective of elected officials, they have to think about what the message is that that sends. Because the ARJIS database is not limited to severe crimes, it’s not limited to one kind of crime or another, it’s a very wide range of encounters with criminal law enforcement agencies.” Another concern with this arrangement is lack of oversight. Erin Tsurumoto Grassi is Policy Director with Alliance San Diego. She says CBP has proven in the past that it can’t be trusted. Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, Alliance San Diego “There’s a long history of abuse of impunity. Not speaking necessarily just to databases but just in general. So, I think that’s something that has to be really considered. Is this an agency we want to trust to have access?” Tsurumoto Grasssi referenced a 2019 incident in which CBP used data to spy on humanitarian workers helping people from the Central American migrant caravan. (Show caravan) CBP did not respond to a request for comment. “We have to have a clear understanding of what are the guardrails. What are the guardrails that are preventing them from accessing data from outside what they are allowed to access?” Dave Maass is the director of investigations with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Dave Maass, Electronic Frontier Foundation “In general, what I’ve seen across California is that there’s not a lot of quality control going on in general.” He says Memorandums of Understanding are designed to prevent misuse. But they aren’t always backed up by enforcement mechanisms. “It’s really an honor system like investigate yourself, let us know how you violated it. So, it’s not a particularly robust system.” ARJIS Director Anthony Ray and SANDAG Chairwoman Nora Vargas declined interview requests. Records show CBP has been getting ARJIS data since at least 2006. (Show records).SANDAG did respond to questions in writing. In 2019, SANDAG updated its ARJIS policies to reflect state laws that limit cooperation between federal and local law enforcement. This included deleting search terms like undocumented. It also requires users to enter a valid reason for each search. And it added a disclaimer telling  users not to access non-criminal data for immigration enforcement. Still, there are general concerns about the lack of enforcement tools. “Even if they’ve agreed to do one thing, you can’t always trust them to stick to the rules.” And, advocates say, a lack of trust between local law enforcement agencies and the community makes everyone less safe. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.


A journalist’s ongoing quest to review footage captured by Chula Vista Police Department drones is headed for a hearing before a state appellate court.

Investigative reporter Amita Sharma has details.

For years, Chula Vista’s use of drones for police work has sparked controversy. In 2021,  local journalist Art Castanares asked the Police Department to turn over a month of its drone footage. As publisher of the Spanish language newspaper La Prensa San Diego, he sought to verify the department’s claims …that they don't use drones to spy on residents. But the agency refused to give Castanares the footage on grounds that it was investigative. Castanares sued in 2022 This spring, a San Diego Superior Court judge sided with the department. Castanares appealed and last week, the California Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed to hear the case. Castanares believes the appeals court took up the matter because the initial ruling was too broad. “If it's upheld the way that this district judge decided it could include not just drone video but a lot of other video, a lot of other videos and documents that the police say are investigative and it's never been the standard.” Chula Vista city officials declined comment on the new developments in the case. Amita Sharma, KPBS News.


A North County private school just received millions of dollars that will go towards affordable housing for its teachers.

Education reporter M.G. Perez explains.

The Grauer School in Encinitas has a capacity of just 160 students in seventh through twelfth grade. 25-percent of them receive financial aid to pay the 28-thousand dollar annual tuition. It’s a steep price in an exclusive area of North County…many of its teachers can’t afford to live in. A major part of a 4-point-5 million dollar grant from the Luddy Family Foundation…will be used for new teacher housing…built in to their compensation. Ryan Stevens is a first year teacher at the Grauer School. “Just that sense of stability a relief…makes it a lot easier. There’s a lot less stress when you’re going to work and trying to plan lessons..and you don’t have to worry about where am I going to be living in the next month.” The school has already purchased a nearby acre of land…that currently has a ranch house and granny flat on it. Those will be reconstructed into three housing units with room for three more by next year. MGP KPBS News.


Coming up.... S-D-S-U researchers say pieces of our car tires are a huge source of microplastic pollution. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


The particles that come off your car tires are a huge source of microplastic pollution.

Now researchers at S-D-S-U have identified 60 chemical compounds in that tire waste, and some of them are toxic.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge has more.

Tire waste is generated constantly as tiny particles get worn off the tires where the rubber meets the road. Those particles, typically measured in microns, are swept into the watershed where they enter streams and ultimately the ocean. Maggie Stack and her fellow researchers at San Diego State found a host of chemicals in tire wear, including some they didn’t expect. “A number of chemicals that leached out from these tire particles had not been previously cited as being tire related.” And are those chemicals dangerous? We did find that some of the compounds that previously weren’t associated with tires may be toxic.” Some types of chemical they found, called amines, can damage the embryos of aquatic creatures.  Members of the San Diego State research team say waste from tire wear is not regulated by the government. At least, not yet. SOQ.


More young children in the U-S die from drowning than any other cause of death.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen spoke with a swim instructor yesterday on World Drowning Prevention Day, to find out what parents can do to keep children safe in the water.

nats swim sounds during the dog days of summer … nats kids laughing … there’s nothing better for a kid than to splash around in the pool. but that’s also where the danger lies. according to the c-d-c … drowning is the leading cause of death for children under four. swim instructor mara davis says it’s important to get children comfortable in the water as early as possible so they don’t panic. so what’s the best technique for children to prevent drowning? mara davis swim instructor “floating. definitely. backfloats would be the best thing because if you can do a backflow, you can kind of lay there for as long as you need. it takes no effort, no energy.” the more exposure children have to the water … the more enjoyable their experience can be. but remember … children should never be left unattended near the water. a child can drown in as little as 20 seconds. an/kpbs.


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 local stories, plus, we'll transport you to a local summer camp transforming lives through surfing. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Wednesday.

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A relatively unknown contract that gives Customs and Border Protection access to San Diego County’s crime data has advocates worried. In other news, a North County private school just received millions of dollars that will go towards affordable housing for its teachers. Plus, researchers at San Diego State University have identified 60 chemical compounds in tire waste, and some of them are toxic.