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San Diego County to get $39 million to assist migrants

 April 16, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Tuesday, April 16th.


How county supervisors want to spend the nearly 40-million-dollar federal funds for migrants. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


San Diegans who were affected by the January storm have until Friday to apply for FEMA disaster assistance and Small Business Association loans.

FEMA aid can go towards temporary lodging, basic home repairs, personal property losses and anything else disaster-related.

And S-B-A loans can cover losses not fully covered by insurance or other sources.

Residents and businesses who experienced damage to their homes, cars and businesses can apply online through the FEMA web portal at Disaster-Assistance-dot-gov, or through the FEMA mobile app.

And to apply for an S-B-A loan, visit s-b-a-dot-gov-slash-disaster.

Local disaster recovery centers are also closing on Friday.


A former Camp Pendleton Marine was sentenced yesterday to nine years in federal prison for his role in firebombing an Orange County Planned Parenthood clinic in March 20-22.

Last November, 24-year-old Chance Brannon pleaded guilty to conspiracy, malicious destruction of property by fire and explosive, intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility and other charges.

According to an affidavit from an F-B-I special agent, Brannon and another defendant allegedly ignited and threw a Molotov cocktail at the clinic entrance.

The two others involved in the incident have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.


We’re in store for some dry and warmer weather all week.

Temperatures today in the inland areas will be in the high 70s, by the coast and in the mountains, it will be in the mid 60s, in the 80s, for the deserts.

The National Weather Service says the warm weather will peak tomorrow (Wednesday).


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


The San Diego region is set to receive 39-million dollars in federal funding for the care of migrants who cross the border.

Advocates are calling this a huge victory that represents a 10-million dollar increase over last year.

County supervisor Nora Vargas has said she'd like to use some of the money to fund a migrant transition center.

Advocates, including Kate Clark of Jewish Family Service, say they want to be included in the process.

“We have continued and will continue to advocate for all levels of government. To be at the table, to have an active voice. We all have the opportunity to be part of the solution.”

Even though San Diego got more money this year – the federal program is actually investing less money into this program overall.

The budget showed a cut of roughly 20-percent to this program.


A wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former nurse at the Otay Mesa Detention Center claims chronic understaffing is resulting in poor medical treatment for immigrants.

Lawyers told border reporter Gustavo Solis that some of these problems have existed for years.

The federal government is required by law to provide medical care to immigrant detainees. But lawyers for detainees have long complained that the care is often substandard at the Otay Mesa Detention Center. Now, a former insider at the facility is making similar claims. It was Jurumay Oliva’s  job to supervise nursing staff and ensure they provide high quality medical care.  Laura Walker is her lawyer. “She acted as the bridge between the nursing staff and the management. Throughout that position she was privy to complaints being made by the nursing staff.” The complaint filed in February alleges management routinely understaffed the nursing unit – often leaving just two nurses available for a population of 1,500 detainees. “They were severely understaffed and that caused a lot of trickle-down problems with the care of the detainees and the patients involved there.” The complaint describes multiple examples of poor medical care. In one case, a detainee developed cellulitis from an open wound that got infected and was not treated properly. Walker says that when Oliva brought these complaints to management, she faced retaliation and was ultimately fired. The detention center is managed by the  private company CoreCivic. Court documents show that CoreCivic denied all allegations and raised various defenses. Spokesperson Ryan Gustin declined to address any of the specific allegations in the suit. But issued the following statement. “While generally it is our policy to not comment on matters involving litigation, I can share with you that at our Otay Mesa Detention Center our dedicated medical staff work hard to provide immigration detainees comprehensive medical and mental health care,” Gustin says the facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. He also says that all of the medical staff at the Otay Mesa Detention Center are licensed and accredited professionals who provide the highest standards of care. Immigration and Customs Enforcement maintains full-time staff on site who monitor conditions at the private detention center. The facility has regularly passed ICE inspections. In a 2022 facility inspection, investigators wrote: “Overall, the detainees were very content with their current conditions” Source: 2022 facility inspection report on Otay Mesa Detention published by ICE. However, that inspection was conducted in 2021. And ICE has not posted any recent inspection reports online. KPBS asked for the 2023 and 2024 inspection reports but ICE did not produce them. Advocates say this lack of transparency is concerning. “Even though a lot of times the Office of the Inspector General, OIG, should be making reports. But we haven’t seen some of the reports in years. So it really makes us concerned. Why are they not being transparent? Why we keep hearing form our clients that they’re not being seen when they request medical appointments?” That is Priscilla Merida. A staff attorney with the immigrant rights organization Al Otro Lado. She says Oliva’s complaint validates stories of poor medical treatment she has heard from clients for years.  “Clients have told me when they are requesting to see a doctor they put in their request early in the morning. They have to sign up on the list. And they are waiting hoping to be seen that day. But they are not being called until two weeks later. Paulina Reyes-Perrariz agrees. She is another immigration lawyer with clients detained in the Otay Mesa facility. “It’s things that advocates, immigrants rights advocates, lawyers have raised before and I think this is a good showing that it’s not something that is being made up it’s something that’s a systematic issue.” Both lawyers say they hope Oliva’s lawsuit results in better conditions for migrants detained in Otay Mesa. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.


Just 10 days into its deployment, the USS boxer returned to San Diego for repairs.

Military reporter Andrew Dyer says it’s the latest in a series of mechanical setbacks that have delayed the ship for years.

The navy hasn’t said what exactly went wrong on the boxer this time but the ship is expected to be delayed another two to three weeks. this after years of delays for overhaul and repair. brad martin is a retired navy captain. he says  problems like those on the boxer have  plagued the navy for years.“this type of thing is more common than it ought to be and it is something that the navy is going to have to deal with especially given that a lot of the ships are getting old. as they get old, they are harder to maintain.” a navy investigation found cost-cutting  contributed to a months-long delay in 2022. last year, problems with crew training and leadership again delayed the ship . last week the navy and marine corps announced a “deep dive” into the maintenance issues with amphibious ships. andrew dyer, kpbs news.


San Diegans didn’t have to do the last-minute rush to file their taxes yesterday (Monday).

They got an extension because of the January floods.

But reporter John Carroll found one place in town where April 15th was still hectic.

It’s a crazy-busy day at the national headquarters of Turbo Tax in the Torrey Highlands neighborhood.  Hundreds of company employees who are usually in their offices, are seated at long tables on the cafeteria floor… each one with a laptop, taking chat questions from customers.  Lisa Greene-Lewis is a Turbo Tax CPA. “It’s all hands on deck with all of our employees.  We’re trying to help people make it before the tax deadline and file their taxes.” Due to the flooding earlier this year, San Diego County residents are getting an extension to June 17th to file.  But Greene-Lewis says if you don’t need to wait, then don’t. “The average refund is close to $3,000, so you don’t want to miss out on that.” JC, KPBS News.


It’s the new year for Thai, Lao and Cambodian San Diegans.

And over the weekend, reporter Katie Hyson witnessed what organizers say was one of the first L-G-B-T-Q-plus celebrations of the holiday.

Diversionary Theatre in University Heights was packed with all the signs of a Thai, Laotian and Cambodian, or TLC, New Year: Colorful sarongs. The pageant princess. Crispy rice salad and shots of Hennessy. The DJ is what she calls, “Qhmer.” Queer and Khmer. Opening for the more traditional dance performances was a Thai drag queen. Y’all know the first sons, and I’m his first and only son and I ended up * pause * this gorgeous. cheers Organizer Dina Johnson has been envisioning this safe space for years. This is actually, like, my dream, like . . . Being a lesbian in this community, especially being Laotian, um, we don't get to, like, be open. It’s the first LGBTQ+ TLC New Year celebration in the country that co-organizer Margaret Marshall is aware of. We were nervous, you know? Because we didn't know how this was going to be perceived, um, in our community. But folks were like, ‘Yeah, we need this.’ They sold out. Happy TLC New Year! How we doing? cheers Katie Hyson, 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 Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Tuesday.

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The San Diego region is set to receive $39 million in federal funding for the care of migrants who cross the border, and advocates are calling this a huge victory. In other news, a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former nurse at the Otay Mesa Detention Center claims chronic understaffing is resulting in poor medical treatment for immigrants, and lawyers are saying some of these problems have existed for years. Plus, just 10 days into its deployment, the USS boxer returned to San Diego for repairs.