Morning Report: 2017 Shook Up Immigration Politics
President Donald Trump campaigned on making major changes to immigration policy, and in 2017, that’s exactly what we saw. The administration’s new approach to immigration has caused one earthquake after another, sending ripples through San Diego’s immigrant population.
Maya Srikrishnan reports on how Trump has eliminated the sense of security enjoyed by undocumented immigrants who don’t have criminal records, as well as the discretion that had been previously exercised by enforcement personnel on the ground. “That means that there are more people in detention and more cases being fought out in court,” Srikrishnan writes.
Trump has also sought a ban on travel to the U.S. from several countries, a move that is “completely unique” and without comparison, according to one expert.
The last year also saw the Trump administration aggressively pursuing states and jurisdictions that won’t cooperate with federal officials on matters of immigration. These so called “sanctuary” jurisdictions saw threats of being cut out of federal grants, or otherwise scrutinized, if they didn’t fall into line.
“Next year, expect a continued push to change the largely family-based immigration system to one that’s more merit-based,” Srikrishnan reports.
• Srikrishnan joins NBC 7’s Monica Dean to cover how, despite immigration arrests skyrocketing under Trump, deportations have dropped off in 2017. A variety of reasons exist for the disparity, including lower numbers of border crossing attempts, and deeply backlogged immigration courts.
• One Marine veteran, previously deported after he was convicted of a crime, came back to the U.S. on Thursday thanks to a pardon from Gov. Jerry Brown. (LA Times)
Convention Center Expansion, 2018 Edition
The group of labor and tourism leaders that’s been negotiating a plan to raise hotel taxes to expand the Convention Center and fund homelessness services has made official overtures to the city attorney’s office about putting up a ballot measure for next year’s election.
In a series of letters obtained by VOSD, lawyer Michael Colantuono told the city attorney he was representing the group, which hoped to form a committee called either Yes for a Better San Diego or Citizens for a Better San Diego.
He said the group “will soon propose an initiative ordinance of the city to impose a hotel bed tax to fund a Convention Center expansion, homeless services and road maintenance services,” Lisa Halverstadt reports.
Members of the group include representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, the hotel workers’ union Unite Here Local 30, the local Building and Construction Trades Council and powerful hoteliers Robert Gleason and Mike McDowell.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer tried and failed to put a similar proposal to a special election this year. A mayoral spokesperson said he’s watching from the sidelines right now, but applauds the effort.
More Cuts Likely at San Diego Unified
San Diego Unified cut staff and services in 2017 in an attempt to bridge a budget chasm. But thanks to increased spending in other areas, Ashly McGlone reports the district is really only going to come in $8.64 million lower in spending this year than it did in the previous year. “Employee salaries dropped by $65 million this year, but employee benefits rose by $32.4 million,” McGlone writes.
Pension and health care costs and spending on supplies has increased. All of this means that next year, we can expect another round of cutbacks to the tune of $47 million.
Mini-Dorm Crackdown Thrown Out
Regulations that had applied only to the College Area and required special permits and expensive off-street parking accommodations hit a legal wall on Thursday when a judge nullified the ordinances responsible for the rules. The Union-Tribune reports the judge ruled the ordinances conflict with state affordable housing laws, are an invasion of privacy and break equal protection laws.
Supporters of the ordinances say they were trying to maintain the character of the College Area neighborhood by fighting against “mini-dorms,” which are three- or four-bedroom houses purchased and then renovated to accommodate a large number of permanent student residents. The regulations had allowed the city to perform surprise inspections of homes to determine how many students were residing at the house.
The city attorney will brief the City Council about the judge’s decision early next year.
• Some Encinitas residents continue to fight against building affordable housing units, but the City Council went ahead and approved one such project anyway. (Union-Tribune)
• The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a huge $81 billion disaster relief package that will include funds for California recovering from wildfires. The bill must still pass the Senate. (Times of San Diego)
• National City wants to attract breweries to the community by making it easier to open up beer joints there. (NBC 7)
• During the year ending July 1, 2017, California grew by 300,000 people, including 20,000 of them who picked San Diego. (New York Times)
• Plan ahead for a bunch of public places and services that will be closed on Dec. 25. (NBC 7)
• CityBeat celebrates the holiday season by proposing locally inspired lyrics to holiday classics, such as “Walking in a Hep-A Wonderland” and “Chris Cate, the Memo Leaker” as sung to “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”