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The Edward J. Schwartz federal courthouse building in downtown San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

On Monday, San Diego’s federal courts are expected to start a new program to process the influx of immigration prosecutions that have come with the federal government’s new mandate to criminally charge everyone caught crossing the border illegally.

The program, known as Operation Streamline, sets up a “separate” but “equal” court of migrant defendants charged with illegal entry misdemeanors. The number of these cases has surged in the local federal court system, causing intense strain on everyone involved.

Operation Streamline has existed since 2005 in other border states, but this will be the first time it’s been implemented in California. It’s unclear exactly how it will look in San Diego – for example, trials might be rushed through in five days, two days or even one day – but the exact timing hasn’t been spelled out.

Local defense attorneys have already laid out several issues with the expedited program that they believe will further compromise defendants’ due process rights.

VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan explains what we know so far about Operation Streamline and how it works in other states.

  • June border apprehension numbers are in. Nationally, apprehensions – which are often used by the government as a proxy for overall unauthorized crossings, are down 18 percent. In the San Diego Border Patrol sector, they are down almost 12 percent, from 3,418 in May to 3,016 in June. The Department of Homeland Security touted the numbers as evidence that the zero-tolerance policy of charging all illegal border-crossers works, but apprehension numbers year over year almost always dip in June, making it difficult to tell whether the new policies are responsible for the drop.
  • A federal judge denied the Trump administration’s effort to block California’s so-called “sanctuary” laws Thursday. Trump was challenging three state laws limiting law enforcement interaction with federal immigration efforts. One of the laws, which dealt with private employers, was partially rejected by the judge. (Bay Area News Group)
  • The Los Angeles Times writes about a notebook that has become a crucial – though informal – method for asylum-seekers to keep track of who is next in line to enter through the San Ysidro Port of Entry to ask for refuge.
  • So far, five members of San Diego’s congressional delegation have responded to the U-T’s questions about where they stand when on abolishing or reforming ICE. None of them outright says ICE should be abolished, but Rep. Susan Davis and Sen. Kamala Harris come the closest by suggesting the agency should be overhauled.

Final Election Results, Finally

We have final results for last month’s primary election.

Challenger Monica Montgomery bested Council President Myrtle Cole in City Council District 4. San Ysidro School Board member Antonio Martinez edged out community organizer Christian Ramirez by three votes (THREE VOTES!) for a place in the November runoff against Council staffer Vivian Moreno. And nonprofit executive Sean Elo has won the right to face Councilman David Alvarez for a seat on the San Diego Community College District board.

Those were the closest remaining races, with the Martinez-Ramirez race especially coming down to the wire. Ramirez told VOSD he’ll announce in the next few days whether he’s mounting a recount effort.

“We haven’t discarded the possibility,” he said. “We have a support base to move forward, and now we have to decide if we have a way to raise $50,000 for a recount from our support base. It’s doable.”

In the end, turnout for the June primary was nearly 40 percent. Four years ago, the off-year primary election had a turnout of 27 percent. In 2010, it was 38 percent and in 2006 it was 37 percent.

Other races of note:

Nathan Fletcher won the race to replace Ron Roberts on the County Board of Supervisors with 29 percent of the vote. He’ll face Republican former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in November, but nearly 74 percent of votes in the primary race were for Democrats.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf beat her closest competitor by more than 20 points, but can’t be feeling great going into her November re-election bid. An incumbent seeking her third term on the Council, Zapf received under 43 percent of the vote; her three main Democratic rivals combined for 51 percent of the coastal district’s votes.

Councilman Chris Cate will be the first city official to win more than 50 percent of a primary vote and still go to a November runoff, thanks to the passage of Measure K in 2016. He won more than 56 percent of the vote, but will now face challenger Tommy Hough, who will hope for a lift from a larger November turnout that is typically more liberal-leaning than the June electorate.

  • City Attorney Mara Elliott claims both initiatives to redevelop the former stadium site in Mission Valley illegally infringe on the mayor and City Council’s authority and should be thrown off the November ballot. In a tentative ruling Tuesday, a Superior Court judge ruled against the city and said the proposed SDSU West initiative can remain on the ballot. The city was in court Thursday making its case. SoccerCity’s initiative will be reviewed by a different judge next Friday. (Union-Tribune)

In Other News

And Now for a Mariachi Moment and Other Lighter News

The Morning Report was written and compiled by Maya Srikrishnan and Kinsee Morlan, and edited by Sara Libby.

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