A Border Patrol agent patrols the primary fence separating the United States and Mexico. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Remember that recent video of a woman being arrested by Border Patrol agents in National City as her anguished daughters watched? She was accused of being involved in human smuggling, just like another couple that was arrested arrested recently in a high-profile case, also in National City.

The three arrested people share something else besides unfolding in that South Bay city: Despite the initial allegations against them, none have actually been prosecuted for human smuggling.

What happened? It’s not entirely clear why prosecutions didn’t go forward. However, “immigration attorneys say they’re increasingly seeing cases where people are accused of human smuggling, but are never actually charged with the crime,” our Maya Srikrishnan reports in a new VOSD story.

“Human smuggling” sounds like a major charge, but an accusation could be as minor as alleging that someone helped a family member enter the country illegally. And a federal investigation official tells us that sometimes it’s more efficient to find another way to handle the case then a human smuggling charge. (Deportation is one possibility.)

“The consequences have to match the true nature of the event,” he said.

• Work on the border wall — in this case, replacement of an existing wall in New Mexico — is slated to begin this month. Here in San Diego, federal money will pay for 14 miles of new border wall to replace a barrier, and 14 miles of a secondary barrier will also be replaced. (AP, KPBS)

• California farm workers — believed to be 90 percent from Mexico, of whom half are here illegally — often have a difficult time moving upward in American society. Their lack of education and English language skills can hold them back from getting out of the fields, Capital Public Radio reports in a new story, and they may instead look to their kids to achieve a “California Dream.”

Politics Report: Supervisor Candidates Get Personal About Pot

Nathan Fletcher, Ken Malbrough, Omar Passons and Lori Saldaña / Photo by Scott Lewis

This week’s VOSD Politics Report leads off with details from a debate about marijuana access between candidates for the county supervisor seat now held by the termed-out Ron Roberts. (The seat covers much of central and coastal San Diego.)

Four candidates appeared at the debate — the fifth candidate, former DA Bonnie Dumanis, declined to attend — and their views on pot rules were pretty similar. All want to allow marijuana shops and distribution systems in the county’s unincorporated areas.

Things got especially interesting when the candidates were asked about their own experiences with marijuana. They’ve all inhaled (or imbibed), and — in a sign of how far we’ve come in marijuana acceptance — a couple indicated that they still do.

Also in the Politics Report: A Republican councilman has had enough of the Lincoln Club, and there’s plenty of history behind this rupture in a GOP coalition. One of the players: A man who was city manager in the 1990s. We explain what’s going on.

And: We have details on a purity test of sorts roiling local Democratic party leaders. Also, we listen in on a meeting of the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

• Also in the Politics Report: The chairman of the port district discussed a proposal to eliminate the independent airport agency. This weekend, there were dueling commentaries by public officials in the U-T the other day regarding whether the airport agency should go under the port’s umbrella. Here’s the pro and con.)

• More: a couple weeks ago in the Politics Report, we discussed a dispute between a local civil rights leader and Genevieve Jones-Wright, who’s running for district attorney. This weekened, the U-T profiled profiled that local 26-year-old minister Shane Harris, who’s “been hailed as a rising civil rights champion and dismissed as self-absorbed.” He’s become a protege of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who recently praised his outreach to residents who said they’d encountered police misconduct: “We need to stop our envy and jealousy, our in-fighting. If you were doing your jobs, Shane Harris wouldn’t have happened. When he got out there supporting these families, it wasn’t like he had to stand in line.”

Finally: What We Learned This Week, the weekly column by Sara Libby is back on Sundays. She learned a lot while on maternity leave. The Politics Report now comes out every Saturday to your email directly. If you want to receive it or any of our other email reports, sign up here.

Fact Checkers Make a Claim of Their Own: We Need Help

Snopes.com, the popular fact-checking website based here in San Diego, has its hand out. A messy and arcane legal dispute has cost the site hundreds of thousands of dollars, the U-T reports, and the site continues to ask users for donations.

Last year, the Atlantic profiled the legal dispute involving snopes.com, which it called “a vital part of internet infrastructure in the #fakenews era.” Vox also dug into the complicated legal case.

Quick News Hits: A Bonanza of Baseball Lists

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — it’ll never stop feeling a bit weird to type those last three words — is on the mend and in stable condition after undergoing surgery to replace a heart valve. (AP)

Even though we didn’t have a 1991-style “Miracle March,” state and local water supplies are in good shape, the U-T reports.

Now here’s a headline we can all stand behind: “ARRGGHH!! $4 gasoline is back at some stations.” (U-T)

As baseball season begins, Esquire is out with a bunch of baseball lists. Our team, sadly, only appears in one of them.

For some reason, the garish Padres garb of the past — some shades of yellow only belong in mustard — is missing from the list of the best, worst and weirdest uniforms of all time.

There’s also a list of the 10 best baseball movies, apparently by a whippersnapper who thinks film didn’t exist until 1988, that totally misses the 1979 TV movie “The Kid from Left Field.”

It starred Gary Coleman as a kid who becomes manager of the Padres — hey, they could have done worse and have — along with Robert Guillaume, Ed McMahon and Tab Hunter. (Just google them, youngsters.) One critic carped that “there is no point in listing the credits … because no credit is due.” Rude!

Meanwhile, yet another list provides suggestions about “What to Eat at Every Single Major League Ballpark,” including “deep fried bull testicles” in Denver, deep-dish pizza (of course) in Chicago, the “Baked Bear Ice Cream Sandwich” here in San Diego. As many of you know because you love them, it doesn’t do them justice to say they’re just “a slab of ice cream wedged between two freshly baked cookies.”

OK, but some of us will just stick with the old stand-by: six hot dogs in a box and heartburn to to go.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described a legal fight that’s roiling Snopes.com, the locally based fact-checking site. The complicated dispute that’s forced the site to ask users for donations is between individuals and entities over control of the site, not between the former husband and wife who founded the site.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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