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Andrey Fedorovskiy at his apartment in Oceanside. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

Andrey Federovskiy, a 55-year-old Kazakh man, was arrested in March in one of the largest ICE operations in recent San Diego history, despite having a pending asylum claim.

Federovskiy, who is an evangelical Christian from majority-Muslim Kazakhstan, says he’s being persecuted by the government there, as Maya Srikrishnan breaks down in a new story.

In April, during his first immigration hearing, he discovered the Kazakh government had issued an international warrant for his arrest, over what it says were millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.

ICE said the warrant didn’t play a role in Federovskiy’s arrest – yet the agency touted having captured an internationally wanted criminal in a press release.

Federovskiy says if he’s sent back to Kazakhstan, he’ll be put in prison and won’t come out alive. Now it’s largely up to an immigration court to decide whether he’s being persecuted and deserves refuge in the United States or whether he’s an international criminal on the run.

Federovskiy’s story is in many ways exceptional. The migrants and asylum-seekers who typically make the news aren’t often from Kazakhstan –  and they aren’t wanted by their governments.

But in other ways, his situation reveals some of the same issues many immigrants face: the disconnect between different agencies dealing with their cases and how life-and-death decisions can be placed in the hands of administrative immigration courts, where the standards guiding evidence and hearsay are much lower than in criminal court.

Politics Roundup

The 2018 political campaign has been on summer vacation for the last month and a half, but a handful of new developments have trickled out this week.

  • Omar Passons, the lawyer who made a strong showing running for county supervisor last month, bringing in nearly 20 percent of the vote without any institutional support, endorsed former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher’s bid for the seat. Fletcher, a Democrat, will face Republican former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in November in a seat long held by Republican Ron Roberts, but where Democrats now strongly outnumber Republicans. Retired fire captain Ken Malbrough, a Democrat, won about 5 percent of the vote, and has endorsed Fletcher as well.
  • Beginning in 2019, mail-in ballots will come with prepaid postage. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Wednesday the legislation from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez intended to make sure no one in the state needs to pay to vote. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Activists had hoped to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would require that all amendments to the county’s general plan – which are required on a number of large suburban sprawl projects pending a final decision – get approved at the ballot. But it appears that initiative will come up short of the signatures needed to qualify. (U-T)
  • A measure to split California into three states has been pulled from the November ballot by the state Supreme Court. (U-T)

More Contentious Meetings in National City to Come

Activists broke into chants Wednesday at a special meeting of the City Council, demanding to know, “Who killed Earl McNeil?” and for the release of police body camera footage that could help explain what happened.

Police escorted at least one man from the podium who overran his time and refused to step down. Another woman began her testimony by addressing City Councilman Jerry Cano directly, saying, “I wish I could slap the shit out of you.” Cano said he considered it a threat.

Wednesday’s City Council meeting was a continuation of the one that began on Tuesday but ended prematurely. Activists are vowing to make similar demands for information at the July 24 City Council meeting.

Police said they arrested McNeil on May 26 after he called dispatchers from a payphone outside the station saying he wanted to kill Jesus and was combative with officers. According to a press release, McNeil was put in a restraining device on the way to jail, and he injured himself and stopped breathing.

He was hospitalized and died on June 11 after being removed from life support, according to National City.

KPBS Midday covered the issue Wednesday, as activists demand the National City police chief’s resignation.

In Other News

  • A popular English professor at San Diego State University – who is an official go-between for faculty and administration at the university – mysteriously lost that role earlier this year. Now, just as suddenly, she’s gotten it back. It’s unclear what’s happening, but it coincides with recent departures of the university’s president and provost. (U-T)
  • The city of San Diego is building a complex with 50 homes for homeless seniors near the international border crossing in San Ysidro. (U-T)
  • Prolific downtown development company Bosa is gutting and rebuilding a mid-rise near Horton Plaza into high-end office space meant to – you guessed it – house tech companies within a year. (U-T)
  • The San Diego Unified School District has partnered with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to prevent bullying of Muslim students. A parent group is asking a federal judge to prevent the partnership, arguing the district already has a broad anti-bullying policy and doesn’t need a religious specific one. (KPBS)

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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