Don’t split up California — make it even bigger

08/15/18 Los Angeles Times

ocean waves and beachBillionaire techbro Tim Draper announced last week he would no longer try to split California into three states. Phew: It was the most ridiculous quest to tinker with the state since the Legislature voted in 1978 to tow an iceberg from Antarctica to solve that decade’s epic drought.

Three Californias had it all wrong. Our state is stronger united, weaker divided. Our size and diversity across social, ethnic and geographic lines is what makes us great.

That’s why we need to reunite with our twin, Baja California.

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U.S. Lawsuit Over Photos at U.S.-Mexico Border Crossings Is Revived

08/14/18 New York Times

CBP_Border_Patrol_agent_reads_the_Miranda_rights_A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a lawsuit by border policy activists challenging the constitutionality of a U.S. government policy requiring advance permission to take photos or shoot film at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California, ruled 3-0 that a lower court judge acted too hastily in dismissing Ray Askins’ and Christian Ramirez’s First Amendment claims against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection officials.

It faulted the judge for deciding in a “conclusory fashion” that the case should be dismissed because of the government’s “extremely compelling interest” in border security and general interest in protecting U.S. territorial sovereignty.

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More Indians are crossing border to ask for asylum; A growing number of detainees are arriving via routes forged by Latino immigrants, U.S. authorities say.

08/14/18 Los Angeles Times

Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement_arrestOn a recent visit to the federal prison in Victorville, U.S. Rep. Mark Takano was caught by surprise. Of the hundreds of immigrants detained there, he learned, possibly 40% had traveled from India seeking asylum.

The Riverside Democrat had expected to see a high concentration of Central American detainees, many of them fathers who had been separated from their children.

Not all the men spoke English. The group appointed a representative, who told Takano that the men were supporters of two different political parties and had been persecuted by India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party.

“They said they were often bullied into doing things that were immoral,” Takano said. “They would have to carry drugs, perpetrate violence against others.”

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U.S.-Mexico border arrests fall in July, fewer unaccompanied children

08/08/18 Reuters

fence at borderU.S. border agents arrested about 8 percent fewer people in July at the southwest border than in June, but the number of migrant families detained remained nearly constant, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security.

A total of 31,303 people were arrested at the U.S. border with Mexico in July, compared to 34,095 in June. Of those detained after attempting to enter the United States illegally, about 4,000 were children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone, compared to about 5,100 children in June.

About 9,300 “family units” were arrested, according to the data, nearly unchanged from the prior month’s 9,400.

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U.S. border agent is not immune from lawsuit in cross-border killing of Mexican teen, court rules

08/08/18 Washington Post

Border fenceJosé Antonio Elena Rodríguez, 16, was walking along the border in his hometown of Nogales, Mexico, shortly before midnight in October 2012 when a U.S. Border Patrol agent began firing from the other side of the steel-beam fence. About 10 bullets struck the Mexican teenager in the back, killing him.

The border agent, Lonnie Swartz, said he was firing at a group of teenagers who were hurling rocks at law enforcement as drug smugglers tried crossing into Mexico. But Elena Rodríguez’s mother said the teenager was walking “peacefully” when he was killed. She sued the border agent, accusing him of violating her son’s constitutional rights.

Her lawsuit forced a federal appeals court to delve into a question that has previously left judges divided: Is a Mexican citizen killed on Mexican soil by a U.S. border agent protected by the U.S. Constitution?

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Homeland Security officials seeing decrease in legal attempts to cross U.S.-Mexico border

08/08/18 San Diego Tribune

borderThe number of people who were apprehended trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally did not decrease significantly after the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy began this year — but the number who attempted to cross legally did, according to government figures released Wednesday.

An official with Homeland Security, which includes Customs and Border Protection, said the number of illegal crossings fell 8% from last month, and 22% from its highest point this year in May, when “zero tolerance” started.

In July, Border Patrol apprehended 31,303 people crossing the southwest border illegally; 34,095 in June and 40,333 in May.

The decline was expected, due to an annual dip during hot summer months, said the official, who spoke about the figures before their release on condition of anonymity.

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Judge sentences Tijuana student in largest-ever fentanyl seizure at a U.S.-Mexico port of entry

08/06/18 San Diego Tribune

drug dog sniffing suitcaseA 20-year-old Tijuana college student was sentenced Monday in San Diego to more than seven years in federal prison for smuggling nearly 80 pounds of fentanyl into the U.S. last December.

Flavio Diego Rivera Davalos pleaded guilty in March to a drug importation charge, admitting in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California that he attempted to drive through the San Ysidro port of entry with more than 77 pounds of fentanyl in his car.

Rivera’s intercepted haul totalled 77.82 pounds — the largest single fentanyl seizure at any port of entry, federal prosecutors wrote in a March trial brief.

According to expert opinions cited in court documents, that amount of the opioid “would yield 800,000 potentially fatal (doses)” and is valued at about $2.1 million, said Sherri Walker Hobson, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.

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