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Lawsuit challenges requiring an app for asylum

 July 31, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Erik Anderson, in for Debbie Cruz….it’s Monday, July 31st.

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A lawsuit challenges requiring an app for asylum. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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Today is the deadline to register for the special election, to fill Nathan Fletcher’s empty seat on the San Diego County Board of supervisors.

The Registrar of Voters says only District 4 residents who are registered by the end of the day will be allowed to vote in the special election.

Early voting is already underway.

Ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off at one of the official ballot drop boxes around the district.

In-person voting centers open Saturday, and will remain open through August 15th.

You can find the voting center or ballot drop-off location closest to you, on the Registrar of Voters website.

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Starting tomorrow, five county parks will be closed in August.

The park closures are an annual safety measure taken because of expected hot weather.

The parks that will be closed next month are, El Capitan Preserve in Lakeside, Hellhole Canyon Preserve in Valley Center and Mt. Gower County Preserve in Ramona.

Also, Agua Caliente and Vallecito County Parks near Anza Borrego will be closed all summer.

In the meantime, there are more than 100 other county parks to explore.

You can find a list of parks at sd-parks-dot-org.

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For people planning to head to the Del Mar Horse Races this season, there are discounted packages on round-trip transit fares and general admission to the races.

Metropolitan Transit System, the North County Transit District and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club have partnered together to bring back the Pony Express.

It includes general admission into the races, a round-trip fare on the COASTER, SPRINTER, BREEZE and M-T-S Trolley and bus, and a shuttle ride from the Solana Beach Train Station to the racetrack.

MTS has more information on their attempt to reduce traffic and parking woes.

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

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The Biden administration says asylum seekers can’t come to the border without scheduling appointments through a phone app.

Now, border reporter Gustavo Solis says advocates filed a class action lawsuit against the policy.

The app is called CBP One. And asylum seekers who don’t use it are getting turned away at the border. Melissa Crow, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies “The central focus of this lawsuit is that use of the CBP One app cannot be the exclusive way to seek asylum at a port of entry at the United States.” That’s Melissa Crow. She’s director of litigation at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies. The organization that filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of ten asylum seekers and two nonprofit organizations. They say some migrants can’t get appointments – either because they don’t have a phone or aren’t tech savvy enough to navigate the app. Crow says existing laws should prevent the Biden administration from making these rules.“And this CBP One appointment requirement flies in the face of section 11 58 a, which says that  [CROW 00:11:11:08] Anyone, regardless of status and regardless of manner of entry must be permitted to seek asylum at the U.S. border.” They’re asking a federal judge to order the Biden administration to stop what they’re referring to as the CBP One Turnback policy. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.

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Shelters for families with children experiencing homelessness are scarce in San Diego County.

Operation Hope in Vista is one of the few family shelters offering these families a safe space and help for a new beginning.

And this space recently underwent some changes.

North County reporter Tania Thorne takes a look.

The sounds of children laughing and playing ball can be heard beyond the fence of Operation Hope North County. For many of those children, the Vista property is a home they haven’t had in a long time. I just wanted to have a good environment for my son honestly. I wanted a good environment for my son where he has a roof over his head, food in his stomach and he's safe. Alani Chavez and her 6 year old son currently live at the homeless shelter for families with children and single moms. I just wanted to change my life. I was tired of being on the streets. Chavez and her family became homeless in 20-15 when their rent money was stolen. Unable to come up with the funds, they were soon evicted. So we packed everything we possibly could onto my son's stroller and then we went to the welfare office in Escondido to see if we could get hotel vouchers and we weren’t approved. So we had to stay… I was sleeping in the park with my mom and my son. Since then, Chavez and her children had been in and out of homelessness before applying for the shelter. I was just done. I was done being homeless. I just wanted to be settled.  I wanted to be going in the right path because I was not aiming for the right path. And I just wanted to be stable. I wanted to learn and be a productive mother because I’m expecting and I just want to be the good mother that I wasn’t with my other kids. The organization has helped Chavez reach that stability. She recently opened her first bank account, got a job, and is saving towards securing housing. Operation Hope North Couny is a homeless shelter for families with children and single women. We have a total of 12 rooms. Our largest room can hold  a family of 7 and our smallest room can hold a family of 2.  We have 45 beds total. Jimmy Figueroa is the executive director of the organization. A role he took on about a year ago. To be able to come in and assist this organization and lead this organization post COVID… just like a lot of nonprofits, Operation Hope North County we went through those trials through COVID. Figueroa says COVID cut off many of the volunteers and donations the nonprofit depended on. As restrictions eased, volunteers returned and donations picked up again. Figueroa says it was time for bigger goals. One of the first things I said was ‘we need to revitalize this organization, physically revitalize the space’ so it mirrors the support the staff is providing, that it mirrors the support that our board and our community has supported for so many years. It needed a facelift. The property itself was an old clinic the organization purchased in 2012. The rooms families are assigned used to be old exam rooms and offices. The property recently underwent a complete renovation courtesy of a donation from North Coast Church. They helped transform the shelter with almost $300 thousand dollars worth of renovations. The flooring, to our youth room, our kitchen space, furniture, the bedrooms, outside landscaping, paving, it was just so much that went into it. Figueroa says the renovations helped with revitalizing the organization to continue helping struggling families. our program is designed to get our parents, the adults here at the shelter stability and tools to be successful to find housing, but what are we doing for all of the kids here. While they do have a youth room and activities for the kids, Figueroa says there’s one place that is evident to be their favorite. What about outside, because that's where the kids play. And how can we create a space for them that exemplifies hope. That exemplifies life. That exemplifies dreaming and believing but also something that provides vibrant colors that can give them that energy while they're here at the shelter. And for that, he turned to the help of local artists. Join us tomorrow for a look at the art that transformed a place of refuge into a place of color and hope for the children. TT KPBS News.

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Coming up.... Why a local hospital plans to soon suspend its labor and delivery unit. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.

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The largest hospital in Imperial County is seeking an emergency loan from the state.

But as inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman explains, it faces competition.

Forty million dollars … that’s how much the El Centro Regional Medical Center hopes to receive from a new state program meant to help struggling hospitals. El Centro Regional’s finances are so bad that it has fewer than 20 days of cash on hand. But it’s not alone. The state has three-hundred-million-dollars available for the loans… and requests for the funding have already exceeded that. Imperial County’s other hospital, Pioneers Memorial in Brawley, may also apply for a loan. The state is expected to make decisions by August. For KPBS, I’m inewsource investigative reporter Jennifer Bowman.

TAG: inewsource is an independently funded, nonprofit partner of KPBS.

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And a change will soon be underway for a North County hospital.

For the first time since the 19-60s … Tri-City Medical Center will soon NOT be caring for newborns.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen has more on what led to the hospital suspending its labor and delivery unit.

The Tri-City Medical Center Board of Directors unanimously voted to suspend the labor and delivery unit indefinitely. The move was not unexpected. In a memo to the board …. the hospital district’s administrative team recommended suspending the unit because of “current and expected financial losses.” Tri-City chief strategy officer Aaron Byzak (buy-ZAK) says this is a temporary decision while the hospital works to finalize a partnership with another health system. Aaron Byzak Tri-City Medical Center “That's why we call the suspension and not a closure. So the goal is to suspend in lieu of an affiliation that will, you know, bring back patients at some point in the future, and we think that there's a lot of opportunities out there.” The suspension is expected to take effect on October 1st. It includes labor and delivery, postpartum services and the neonatal intensive care unit. The hospital has been caring for newborns since it opened in 19-61. AN/KPBS.

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The national trove of medical information called “All of us,” just got a 54-million-dollar grant to try to enlist people who will bring more diversity to the database.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge tells us how the Scripps Research Institute is making sure the program includes all kinds of people.

A million people. At least. All of Us wants to populate its medical database with that many personal health reports. Julia Moore Vogel, at Scripps Institute, leads a national effort to recruit and retain participants. One of our goals is that 50 percent of the cohort is made up of people who self-identify as part of a racial/ethnic group that is historically underrepresented by medical research, ie non-white individuals. They also recruit people who are disabled, or anybody who may be underrepresented in biomedical research. Making medical treatments more personalized, means understanding a wide range of human genetics, and diseases. Dr. Amy Sitapati oversees All of Us at UC San Diego health, and says their database helps that by finding other people whose health is a lot like yours. It doesn’t really work like a one on one. It’s not like ‘find my twin.’ You know. The database is like finding the people who are kinda like me and how do I compare to anybody else. And that’s what’s really great about it. So far All of Us is about halfway to its goal of having a million people sharing their medical and biological histories. SOQ. 

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That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Erik Anderson. Thanks for listening and have a great Monday.

The Biden administration says asylum seekers can’t come to the border without scheduling appointments through a phone app, and now advocates have filed a class action lawsuit against the policy. In other news, Operation Hope in Vista is one of the few family shelters in San Diego County offering families with children who are experiencing homelessness a safe space and help for a new beginning. Recently the shelter underwent some changes. Plus, the national trove of medical information called, All of Us, just got a $54 million grant to try to enlist people who will bring more diversity to the database.