Morning Report: One Year in, Police Policies Don't Always Reflect 'Sanctuary' Law - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: One Year in, Police Policies Don't Always Reflect 'Sanctuary' Law

The Chula Vista Police Department / Photo by Sam Hodgson

State lawmakers intended for the California Values Act — the so-called “sanctuary state” law — to create a firewall between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials. It prohibited, for instance, police departments from using immigration agents as interpreters, which could make victims of crimes fearful to come forward.

But more than a year after that landmark piece of legislation went into effect, Maya Srikrishnan reports, some local police departments still don’t fully comply with SB 54 and many still routinely interact with federal immigration officials through task forces, databases and workspaces.

The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, a coalition of advocacy groups, has been reviewing and evaluating the written policies of police departments and found that only two had included all of SB 54’s requirements. The Escondido Police Department, which has a reputation for collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, scored the highest of all local agencies.

Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter said he’s been meeting every quarter with immigrant leaders as well as other advocates to make sure the lines of communication stay open. He doesn’t believe SB 54 is an impediment to his officers removing people with criminal backgrounds from the community.

Written policies don’t paint a perfect picture of a department’s compliance with the law, but it can be a useful guide. The researchers at the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium found that some agencies may be following the letter of SB 54, but not necessarily its spirit, while others might be doing significant outreach in immigrant communities that might not be reflected in their official policies.

San Ysidro’s Unique History and Place in San Diego

National media outlets flocked to the border late last year to cover the migrant crisis, producing in some cases dispatches that characterized San Ysidro as a suburb defined by its strip malls. Even some residents seem confused about the fact that San Ysidro is a neighborhood of San Diego because of its physical separation from the city’s urban core.

Adriana Heldiz considers San Ysidro’s history and unique place in the region and writes in a new story, “For decades, it has existed within the tension of being both a part of the city of San Diego itself and not part of the city — a mere passing point between other worlds.”

But if there’s a bright spot in this story, it’s that a lingering sense of neglect in recent years has manifested itself into a culture of self-reliance.

Chances are you will be hearing more about San Ysidro as immigration rhetoric continues to escalate under the Trump administration and in the run-up to the 2020 election. So to help better understand the community, a few minutes of history may help contextualize the discussion.

The Day in Border News

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration can continue requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting court proceedings.

It is a victory for the president, though a temporary one, NPR reports, because a lower court must still rule on merits of the case. The legal challenge was brought by Central American asylum-seekers and others who argue that the policy endangers their lives in violation of U.S. and internal law.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing that Border Patrol agents conduct begin assessing the claims of migrants seeking asylum — over the concerns of Border Patrol officials that adding more duties would overburden their efforts, CNN reports. Interviews intend to evaluate credible claims of refuge are currently conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum officers. Border Patrol agents are tasked with making an arrest.

Immigration advocates also expressed concern that it could make asylum claims more difficult and lead to more deportations.

How the Uber Strike Played Out in San Diego

Some drivers rallied at the San Diego Airport Wednesday, joining a national strike against the ride-sharing giant Uber ahead of its public offering Friday. The company is expected to receive a valuation of up to $91 billion.

KPBS’s Midday host Maureen Cavanaugh interviewed Tina Givens of Rideshare Drivers United San Diego. She said her group is demanding higher pay and transparency from Uber, among other conditions.

“We’re really wanting to let Wall Street and the investors know that they can’t expect to make profits off the backs of the drivers,” said Givens.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is currently pushing legislation that would require California companies to classify most workers as employees, unless they meet a specific set of criteria, laid out last year by the California Supreme Court. That would guarantee workers a minimum wage, workers compensation and other benefits.

Gonzalez tweeted in support of striking drivers Wednesday, and boosted her measure.

Speaking of state government …

  • A state audit found Caltrans paid about $42,000 for an employee to commute from San Diego to Sacramento for work over a two-year period. (The Sacramento Bee)
  • The U-T reports that if Assembly 1482 — a bill to institute caps on rent hikes — passes the California Legislature, San Diego landlords could not raise rental rates more than 7.2 percent annually. As NBC 7 reported last month, the tenants at one City Heights apartment complex recently saw a 75 percent hike.
  • Sen. Nancy Skinner has updated SB 330 so that it won’t void San Diego’s coastal height limit. As VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt reported in March, Skinner’s bill would roll back many city and county home-building regulations for a decade. At the time, both Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins raised concerns about changes to coastal height limits without input from the affected communities.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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