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Thousands of migrants released in San Diego

 April 25, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, April 25th.


Thousands of migrants have been released on San Diego’s streets in the last two months.

More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


A Camp Pendleton Marine died at the base Tuesday but the Marines are providing few details about the circumstances of the death.

In a statement yesterday (Wednesday), the Third Marine Air Wing said the service member died during routine military operations on the base around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Marine was assigned to a Camp Pendleton helicopter squadron.

A spokesperson for the air wing tells KPBS more information will be provided 24 hours after family notification.


The construction of a new housing and mixed-use community in City Heights is underway.

The City Heights Community Development Corporation and city leaders broke ground on the project yesterday (Wednesday).

The Cuatro at City Heights development will include 117 units of affordable housing, outdoor spaces, bicycle parking, on-site resident services and resources, and commercial space.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, more than 16 thousand units per year would need to be built for the city of San Diego to meet its state-mandated housing goal.

Qualifying residents must have an income that falls between 30 to 60-percent of the area median income.

The new units in City Heights are expected to be ready to move into by the fall of next year.


Today (Thursday) is going to be the coldest and windiest day of the week.

There’s a Wind Advisory in effect in the mountain and desert areas until 11 tomorrow night.

Gusts could reach up to 65 miles per hour.

There’s also a slight chance of light rain in the morning and again tonight, in all parts of the county.

The skies will be cloudy for most of the day, with temperatures in the low 60s in the inland and coastal areas.

In the mountains, temps will be in the high 40s, and in the deserts, it’ll be in the mid 70s.

Tomorrow’s weather will be similar, before it starts to warm up a little over the weekend.


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


It has been two months since the county closed its Migrant Transit Center.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis says since then, border patrol agents have released thousands of migrants onto the streets of San Diego.

 The first bus comes at 7 a.m. Every morning. Seven days a week. Border patrol agents drop off hundreds of migrants at the iris avenue transit center in san ysidro. And the buses keep coming. Every day somewhere between 400 and 600 migrants come to San Diego. This group includes people from all over the world. “de venezuela” “de cucuta colombia.” Ecuador Maria delia sacorando is from guatemala. She says it was difficult to leave her adult children and grandkids back home. “triste porque deje mis hijos, deje mis nietos.” For 40 years, she owned a beauty salon. But a local gang demanded protection payments. She had to shut it down when she could no longer afford the extortion payments. “era demasiado y no se podia.” Sacorando has a daughter in los angeles. She just needs a little help getting there. And that’s the situation most migrants find themselves in. More than 90 percent of them plan to reunite with family and friends in other parts of the country. While they’re in San Diego, they mostly need a place to charge their phones and make travel arrangements. For the last two months – the only people offering help to these migrants are volunteers, mutual aid groups and nonprofit organizations. They say they are getting zero support from any level of government. “we’re not seeing the county drop off water anymore. We’re not seeing direct coordination with the county or the city of San Diego.” Pedro rios is with the american friends service committee. He says elected officials have a responsibility to help the migrants. (Who have sacrificed so much to get here) “(these are people who find themselves in a vulnerable situation. Who have escaped very dangerous situations in their home countries. Traveled through traumatizing and horrendous conditions.) To then arrive to the u.s. And not have any type of welcoming feeling by county officials or local officials just is unacceptable.” San Diego mayor todd gloria did respond directly to these critiques. But a spokesperson told kpbs that the county is taking the lead on this issue. Back in san ysidro. One of the volunteers – catalina – has a welcome speech prepared. In spanish. No hay wifi, no hay banos publicos, no hai donde cargar los cellulares. She doesn’t sugarcoat it. Says there is nothing for the migrants here. No bathrooms. No shelter. Nowhere to charge their phones. Their best bet, she says, is to go to the airport. Taxis cost $75. Or they can take the trolley. La manera mas directa es con los taxistas que estan aqui en la esquina. Cobran $75 dollares. Catalina walks dozens of people to the trolley stop. Tells them to go to old town and take the free airport shuttle. She even gives them maps where an x marks the spot. Y se van a bajar en esta parada que se llama old town en el mapa es la x okay. Carolin duran takes one of the maps and hops on the trolley. “dejar el pais no es facil pero tambien te trais una mochila pequena de suenos y esperanza.” She says leaving venezuela was not easy. She’s going to the airport and plans to meet up with her brother in denver. Catalina then walks back to help other migrants. She and other volunteers have been doing this every day for the last two months – ever since San Diego County’s migrant transit center closed because it ran out of funding. But there are signs of hope. San Diego County received $19 million from the federal government to help this migrant population. Kate clark with jewish family service says it’s a big increase from last year. “this federal allocation is really a victory for our region.” They want to see San Diego County work with local service providers to create a lasting migrant welcome program. Clark says organizations like hers have been doing this for years. “we’d really expect that the county of San Diego convene organizations that have this expertise to help inform our region’s plan and next steps.” But so far, clark says the county has not reached out. County supervisor nora vargas’ office did not respond to a question asking why. A county spokesperson says staff are working very hard to determine the best roadmap going forward. Gustavo solis, kpbs news.


A California bill would require manufacturers to add folic acid to corn masa.

Reporter Katie Hyson looked at how that might impact babies born in the county.

Fortifying food with vitamins and minerals is not new in the U.S. It started in the 1920s, with iodine in salt. Vitamin D in milk in the ‘30s. By the ‘90s, researchers had linked fatal neural tube defects in babies – things like spina bifida and anencephaly  – to not getting enough folic acid in pregnancy. So the government required it to be added to cereal in 1998. It was hugely successful, reducing neural tube defects by more than a third. But it missed all the households who don’t eat cereal every day. In California, Latina women continue to have the highest rate of neural tube defects. That’s why legislators are proposing adding it to the masa flour used to make corn tortillas. I think this law would really help women who don't come in to see their doctor who have unintended pregnancies because they're the ones that are at highest risk for having these issues. Melissa Campos is a physician in mostly-Latino San Ysidro. She says less than a third of Latinas in San Diego County take prenatal vitamins before becoming pregnant. About half of her pregnant patients miscarry, she says, often because of neural tube defects. She estimates this legislation could save 40 Latino babies every year. Katie Hyson, KPBS News.


January’s floods were devastating to one of San Diego's oldest Philippine dance companies.

They were considering selling their National City studios and finding a new home.

Now though, South Bay reporter Kori Suzuki says the company has decided to stay and build back stronger, instead.

For the last few months, the studios of PASACAT have been unusually quiet. They house one of the region’s oldest dance and performing arts organizations with roots in the Philippines. In January, the floodwaters that swept across San Diego also breached the studio walls. Soaking the building’s dance floor and ruining decades-old costumes and instruments. It was the fourth time a flood like this had hit the arts company in recent years. We had an emergency meeting on the day after, and they were fed up. Number one, it's like, Okay, I can't ask people to help when this has happened before. How are they going to give money to this a fourth time? Ana Labao-Cabato is the company’s executive director. She says leadership wondered if it was time to sell their studios and start looking for a new home. We knew that we had to do something beyond just fixing it in hopes that we can appeal to the public and our supporters to say we need to do something beyond just restoration. The board held a conversation with the PASACAT community and debated the different paths forward. Ultimately, they decided to stay. The company is applying for a federal disaster loan, which they hope will help them rebuild stronger this time. To withstand future floods. And hold on to the organization’s roots. In National City, Kori Suzuki, KPBS News.


A pilot program in North County is teaching students about nutrition and where their food comes from.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen says the Farm to School program encourages kids to try vegetables they may not have tried before.

Students in Mr. Erickson’s fourth-grade class at Bernardo Elementary in Escondido are learning about vegetables and how they’re grown. “School gardens are better because we know what we’re eating and how fresh it is.” These students are part of a pilot program between Escondido Union School District and Farm to Institution Center. Paul Erickson is a teacher at Bernardo Elementary.  “We've been doing multiple lessons where we're learning about and teaching about local farms in our community, as well as some healthier choices like produce and things, just getting students engaged in farming.” Once a week for the past five weeks, Alexis Anderson from the Farm to Institution Center has been coming by  “Good morning everyone” to teach these kids more about farming and what it takes to get fresh produce to their tables. “So, today, we’re just gonna talk about school gardens.” She says the main takeaway for the kids is learning where their food comes from. AN/KPBS.


The Day of the Child or Dia del Niño is on Tuesday (April 30). It’s a day to celebrate and honor the well-being and rights of children.

The day usually includes activities and events, and there are many ways to celebrate your child here in the county.

Joining me to give us the details on some of the local events, is KPBS web producer, Leslie Gonzalez.

Leslie, welcome to the San Diego News Now podcast.

Day of the Child is celebrated in many countries, and there’s some history behind the holiday. Can you tell us about it?

I’ve seen the holiday called Dia de los ninos/dia de los libros? What’s the connection there?

And along those lines, a lot of the events include educational activities. What are some of the events happening at local libraries?

How about some outdoor activities? Can you tell us about those?

And what about on the actual Day of the Child? What are some of the events happening on Tuesday?

Where can listeners find more information on the events we just talked about?

TAG: I’ve been speaking with KPBS web producer, Leslie Gonzalez. Leslie, thank you for joining me on the San Diego News Now podcast.


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 Thursday.

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It has been two months since the county closed its Migrant Transit Center, and since then, Border Patrol agents have released thousands of migrants onto the streets of San Diego. In other news, a California bill would require manufacturers to add folic acid to corn masa. We have a look at how that might impact babies born in San Diego County. Plus, one of our KPBS web producers joins the podcast to talk about Children’s Day events happening in San Diego County this weekend and next week.