Supporters rally against President Trump’s announcement to end DACA. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Supporters rally against President Trump’s announcement to end DACA. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Members of San Diego’s legislative delegation advocated for the release of a UC San Diego student taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, officials earlier this month.

Orr Yakobi, 22, a student at UC San Diego, was released last week after officials determined he was a passenger in a vehicle that had taken an unintentional turn into Mexico and that he is a valid recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy, said Lauren Mack, ICE spokeswoman in San Diego. The policy grants temporary protection to undocumented adults brought to the United States as children.


Assemblyman Todd Gloria and California’s Latino Legislative Caucus, led by state Sen. Ben Hueso and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, wrote letters supporting Yakobi’s release to Gregory Archambeault, director of ICE’s San Diego field office.

The caucus also wrote a letter supporting the release of Luis Mora Villota ,a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student who was arrested by Border Patrol at a checkpoint in Jamul on Dec. 30. Villota had overstayed an expired visa, Mack said. He posted bond Wednesday and a federal immigration judge in the Bay area will determine the outcome of his case, she said.

Gonzalez Fletcher said Villota, who came here as a child, “fits into the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. He should continue his studies.”

As federal lawmakers continue to debate the fate of DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, Gonzalez Fletcher said both students’ cases highlight the importance of the need for immigration reform.

“DACA isn’t enough,” she said. “It’s kind of like the lowest hanging fruit.”

Gloria Among Delegation to Mexico City

The fate of Dreamers was among the topics discussed during a recent trip several state lawmakers took to Mexico.

Gloria was part of a state delegation, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, that visited Mexico City late last week to discuss ties between California and Mexico.

The group met with Mexican government and business leaders to discuss immigration, trade, climate change, cap-and-trade, cross-border pollution, student exchanges and tourism.

Gloria said he saw the trip, which did not use taxpayer dollars, as an opportunity to discuss border-wait times and mutual environmental concerns.

“You get to sit down face-to-face in real time,” Gloria said. “If everyone’s at the table talking with each other, something will get done.”

Additionally, he said the visit was helpful to articulate “a different opinion than our president.”

President Trump has proposed an expanded wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and his administration plans to challenge a federal injunction blocking the termination of protections for young, undocumented immigrants.

Waldron Seeks More Time for Victims to Report Harassment

Those who experience sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace may soon have more time to report their claims.

Assemblywomen Marie Waldron, Laura Friedman and Eloise Reyes want to extend the amount of time victims have to report incidents involving harassment or discrimination under a measure they introduced earlier this month. AB 1870 would grant victims three years, instead of one year, to report their complaints to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

“I am glad we have a bipartisan approach,” Waldron said. “We feel it’s important that victims have the time to feel comfortable coming forward.”

The bill is awaiting a committee hearing.

Waldron, a Republican from Escondido, is also a member of a new joint committee that will devise policy for how the California Legislature will address sexual harassment and misconduct claims.

The committee is the result of ongoing harassment allegations that have roiled the Capitol in recent months. Friedman, a Democrat, chairs that committee. California Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, who represents portions of Orange County and North County in San Diego, and Reyes, a Democrat, also are members of the new committee.

Bates Wants Greater Oversight of Sober Living Homes

California Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates introduced legislation this week intended to improve patient care and the safety of neighborhoods with sober living homes and drug rehabilitation centers.

The aim of SB 902 is greater oversight and reforms of the drug rehabilitation industry as opioid addiction rates have soared amid reports of unscrupulous operators.

“For more than 20 years, several bipartisan efforts to address the challenges surrounding the state’s drug rehab history have gone nowhere due to opposition from vested interests,” Bates said in a statement. “The goal of my legislation is to stop the industry’s bad actors, not those with strong records of helping people suffering from addiction.”

Bates is meeting with stakeholders in the weeks ahead to draft specifics.

Golden State News

State lawmakers may come up with their own health insurance requirement before the federal mandate ends. (CALmatters)

The UC Board of Regents will decide next week whether to raise tuition again amid student protests. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Latino vote in California could rise because of growing public engagement in the Trump era. (Sacramento Bee)

Will President Trump retaliate against what some see as the nation’s bluest state through the 2020 Census? (Politico)

Did the state’s loose home-schooling regulations play a role in prolonging the neglect of children whose parents were arrested in Perris? (Los Angeles Times)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy positions himself as President Trump’s ‘friend, fixer and candy man.’ (Washington Post)

Oprah would win California in presidential race, new poll says. (San Francisco Chronicle)

At town hall, Gavin Newsom faces a pile-on from opponents seeking to replace Gov. Brown. (Sacramento Bee)

Marisa Agha is a journalist based in Southern California.

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