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President Biden proposes new asylum rules

 February 23, 2023 at 5:00 AM PST

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, February 23rd.

President Biden is proposing new rules that would limit access to asylum, similar to Trump-era policies. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

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The strong winds and rainy weather isn’t over just yet in San Diego County.

The National Weather Service put out a Winter Storm Warning through Saturday.

Forecasters say snowfall could reach unprecedented levels in the mountain areas.

Because of the weather conditions, schools in the Julian Union Elementary and High School Districts, Mountain Empire Unified School District and Spencer Valley School District will be closed today.

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A new lawsuit is accusing the Catholic Diocese of San Diego of committing real estate fraud, to avoid paying claims for child sexual abuse.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin says the Diocese fraudulently transferred assets to 93 individual parish corporations… after a 20-19 bill extended the time frame for filing abuse claims.

“This Diocese and its parishes have engaged in a conspiratorial enterprise to defraud child abuse victims and to deny them the justice they deserve.”

The Diocese says the parish assets were always separate from the diocese under canon law, and that work to separate them under civil law began long before the 20-19 bill.

The new suit comes less than two weeks after the Diocese announced it might file for bankruptcy because of the abuse claims.

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Next week, state and local COVID emergency orders will be lifted, after being in place for nearly three years.

Officials say the orders helped save lives and protect the economy.

Emergency orders also allowed hospitals to deal with high patient admissions.

Once the orders are lifted, changes include some testing and vaccination sites closing.

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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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President Joe Biden is proposing a new set of rules that would limit access to asylum.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis spoke with advocates who say the proposed rules are similar to Trump-era policies that Biden promised to eliminate.

“It is a resurrection of the Trump administration’s policies. It is an asylum ban.” That’s Blaine Bookey with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies. She’s critical of Biden’s proposed policy. It would make anyone who crossed the border illegally ineligible for asylum. Also if they did not first seek asylum in a country they traveled through before reaching the Southern border. The policy is similar to President Donald Trump’s so-called asylum transit ban. Bookey says it isn’t very popular. “It’s pretty much universally rejected by advocates who are standing at the ready to welcome people.” White House officials have pushed back on the Trump comparisons. The Biden administration has expanded legal pathways into the United States. Aaron Riechlin-Melnick is policy director at the American Immigration Council. He says the Trump comparison is fair. “The Biden administration has strongly rejected comparisons between this new rule and the Trump asylum transit ban, but the reality is if the Trump ban applied to 99 percent of people, this is probably going to apply to 70  percent to 80 percent of people.” The new policy is scheduled to go into effect May 11. The ACLU has already said it will sue the Biden administration to block that from happening. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.

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When National Guard troops deploy within the U-S, it’s typically for short periods of time, like a hurricane or other disaster.

But the National Guard has patrolled the southern border for most of the last two decades.

Some government watchdogs say that’s an inappropriate use of the Guard.

From Mission, Texas, Carson Frame reports for the American Homefront Project.

Chimney Park RV Resort is a lush oasis of palm trees and natural vegetation. The 55 and older community sits on the bank of the Rio Grande River, nestled behind a tall metal border fence. Big motorhomes sit alongside little bungalows and trailers. Wanda Liptow, a so-called “Winter Texan,” has been coming here from Wisconsin with her husband since 2007. She circles the resort in a golf cart and greets her neighbors, who hail from all over. Missouri, here we have Canada, Minnesota, Nebraska… You can tell the northern states are represented here. Hi Diane! But Liptow has OTHER neighbors, too. Border Patrol agents launch their patrol boats at Chimney Park. And on most days, two National Guard troops sit facing the river in a pickup truck with a raised camera in its bed. Liptow pulls her golf cart up to say hello. LIPTOW: I live here so I was just curious. We see you coming and going. Thank you for what you do! Keep up the good work.. GUARDSMAN: You’re welcome. Thank you! Have a good day. LIPTOW: But you see how they're just nice young men and probably a long ways from home. And lots of grandmas and grandpas around here… The last four presidential administrations have sent National Guard troops to the southwest border. About 2,400 of them are now watching the border and helping the Department of Homeland Security in other ways. Katherine Kuzminski, a researcher with the Center for a New American Security, says the long-running mission raises a big question: KUZMINSKI: is this the proper role for the National Guard or does that indicate that there needs to be more resourcing for the Department of Homeland Security? Kuzminski suspects part of the reason that the Guard has been deployed so long is because it’s easier politically. Money for the Guard comes out of the defense budget, which is less controversial than border security funding. KUZMINSKI: So this is a way to quietly fill that capacity need without having to renegotiate budget items or increase a budget. And Homeland Security wants the help. The military provides manpower, equipment, and expertise to help Customs and Border Protection agents. Elizabeth Field is with the Government Accountability Office. FIELD: we found that there was a real need for tasks such as maintaining vehicles, as well as conducting border surveillance. And CBP officials told us that they really have a challenge when it comes to recruiting personnel. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said the military shouldn't be involved at the border long term — and that Homeland Security should develop the ability to conduct operations on its own. But the two agencies have struggled to come to an agreement. Field says the long mission is costing the Defense Department — both in money and readiness. FIELD: this is not a small amount of money, even for DOD. And…we found that the National Guard had in some cases had to cancel training exercises, because troops, National Guard troops were on the board or performing this function. In addition to the federal troops - sent to the border by the last four presidents, Texas Governor Greg Abbott also has deployed his state's National Guard to the region. Victor Trevino is the mayor of Laredo, a major port of entry. He says the troops make some residents feel safer — and also deter vigilantes from trying to police the border themselves. But he says the Guard isn't a permanent solution. TREVINO: their mere presence and their mere necessity to be here as a support entities just shows us how much we need immigration reform...we're just putting a bandaid on everything. We're just holding the fort, in other words. Lawmakers are trying to better understand the Defense Department’s role at the border. A provision in the latest defense budget requires the department to brief Congress quarterly about the mission. This is Carson Frame reporting.

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

Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

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Cal State San Marcos is removing one of its founding fathers' names from campus.

North County reporter Tania Thorne looks into the decision, and what's next for the building.

The late Senator William Anderson Craven  brought North County its own university. Cal State San Marcos. In April 1993, Craven Hall was named for the Senator But just this year, university officials voted to have his name removed from Craven Hall over comments he made about people who came to the U-S illegally.. It seems rather strange that we go out of our way to take care of the rights of these individuals who are perhaps on the lower scale of our humanity for one reason or another. The vote came after a Task Force spent 18 months  researching and meeting about the change. The senator’s daughter, Tricia Craven Worley says her father dedicated his life to the university and his comments were taken out of context. He did it exactly for the people who are populating the university now, over 50% are Hispanic, that's exactly what he had in mind. If that's what he had in mind, why are they removing his name? Senator Craven's name and bust has yet to be removed. TT KPBS News. 

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Coming up.... The first Indigenous author to win a Pulitzer Prize talks about his journey as an author. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.

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UC-SD researchers say children who are less attracted to a parent’s babytalk are more likely to have some form of autism.

Sci-tech reporter Thomas Fudge tells us about a study that used an eye-tracking test on toddlers.

A little boy sits on his mother’s lap, watching a screen with two videos. Which one is he looking at? A video of car traffic or one showing a woman speaking in babytalk? “You know that sing-songy, ‘Oh baby I love you. You’re so adorable!’ Karen Pierce is a neuroscientist and the co-director of UCSD’s Autism Center for Excellence. She says eye tracking can identify autism spectrum disorder quickly and accurately by seeing whether the image a kid prefers is social or non-social. “And when we show the video to kids on the spectrum, they might spend more time looking at the traffic.” Pierce is a co-author of a paper in the journal JAMA Network this month, describing a study where they tested 653 kids. It found that If a toddler fixated on the babytalk video at or below 30% of the time, while being eye-tracked, it had a 94 percent chance of being accurately identified with autism spectrum disorder. SOQ. 

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A new PRIDE Center is now open on the campus of Mesa College.

Education reporter M.G. Perez has more on what it means for the community.

The new PRIDE Center at Mesa College makes way for the business of creating a safe space for those who are very much out of the closet…and those who are not. The center is ready to offer LGBTQ students academic, personal, and career counseling..an-affirming library of literature and authors…meeting places and other gender and sexuality resources. Areli Sandoval is a first year student at Mesa College “you come in here and you can be your true self…whether an ally…whether you’re part of the community…you deserve to be here, you deserve to be seen as your whole self.” There is already a PRIDE Center at City College downtown…with hopes for similar centers at the other two main community college district campuses in the future. MGP KPBS News.

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Native American author N. Scott Momaday has celebrated the traditions of his Kiowa ancestry in his prose, poetry, essays and playwriting for more than six decades.

His 19-68 novel “House Made of Dawn,” made him the first Indigenous author to win a Pulitzer Prize.

It led to a breakthrough for Native American literature into mainstream recognition.

Tomorrow, Momaday will be the featured speaker at Point Loma Nazarene University's Writer's Symposium by the Sea.

KPBS Midday Edition host, Jade Hindmon recently spoke with N. Scott Momaday about his writing.

She started by asking about how his spiritual connection to the land impacted him and influenced his writing.

Oral tradition and storytelling plays a major role in the preservation of Native culture…how did the stories you learned growing up influence you as a writer?

How did that oral storytelling tradition shape the way you write?

I wonder how you connect with your Kiowa ancestry through writing? 

What’s that process like?

You were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for your 1968 Novel “House Made of Dawn” - what was it like to be the first Native American to win that award?

Your book, “House Made of Dawn” has been described as the beginning of the Native American literary renaissance… did you intend for your work to open the door for other writers?

Why is it so important to call attention to Native American writing?

That book deals with the many difficulties of growing up on a reservation… I’m curious about what led you to become a writer in the first place, and what it was about your youth that made you want to capture these stories in writing?

That was author N. Scott Momaday, speaking with Jade Hindmon.

He will appear virtually at the 28th annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea tomorrow at 7 p-m.

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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 Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Thursday.

President Joe Biden is proposing new rules that would limit access to asylum, similar to Trump-era policies. In other news, when National Guard troops deploy within the U.S. it’s typically for short periods of time, like a hurricane or other disaster, but the National Guard has patrolled the southern border for most of the last two decades. Some government watchdogs say that’s an inappropriate use of the Guard. Plus, the first Indigenous author to win a Pulitzer Prize talks about his journey as an author.