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Hundreds of travelers wait in long lines at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry after Customs and Border Patrol officials shut down crossing lines in San Ysidro. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has pointed to crime and security concerns as officials decide how to police the border, including the unprecedented closure of the San Ysidro Port of Entry during the bustling Thanksgiving weekend.

Yet several border experts tell Maya Srikrishnan that U.S. officials’ responses to the migrant caravan have created security risks too – namely, an opportunity for Mexican drug organizations.

“Drug smuggling orgs are only in it for profits so for the extent they can take advantage of what is happening at the border, they will,” former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security official Miguel Unzueta told Srikrishnan.

Unzueta and other experts say the recent chaos at the border along with an influx of vulnerable migrants have set the stage for further destabilization at a time when Tijuana is already struggling with drug turf wars that have turned deadly.

New Latino Voters Are Overwhelmingly Independent

Although Latinos typically vote for liberals and progressives in San Diego County, election data suggests that they’re not exactly running to the Democratic Party for cover in the age of Trump. Nearly 70 percent of Latino voters who registered in 2018 did so under the no party preference banner.

In the North County Report, Jesse Marx explains some of the major reasons why.

While many immigrants are turned off by the rhetoric of the right, they also feel taken for granted on the left. As one researcher put it, there’s an assumption among Democratic Party officials that “if only Latinos come out to vote, we’ll win more seats. But you’re not taking the time to get to know them and hear what they’re about.”

Maria Nunez, an attorney, won a seat on the San Marco City Council this year as an independent. Despite what the election data suggest, convincing her neighbors that she had their best interests at heart took some serious work. As a long-time resident of her district, she said she connected on a personal level.

Ready for the Mayor’s Race?

Now that we’re done with one campaign season, brace for another with the start of the 2020  mayor’s race.

Union-Tribune columnist Michael Smolens offered a preview and a little news Wednesday: Former San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman is officially considering a run for mayor. She’s registered as an independent.

If she goes all in, she would join San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who’s taken the official steps to create a committee to run, notes Smolens. Assemblyman Todd Gloria won’t be far behind — if he hasn’t taken those steps already.

We wrote about their positioning for the mayor’s spot in September and also dedicated a podcast to the topic in October. (Councilman Chris Cate has been mentioned as a possible contender for Republicans, but he is definitely not running.)

The CA Target Book noted on Twitter Wednesday that Rep. Scott Peters has opened an exploratory committee for San Diego mayor at the state level.

  • Alejandra Sotelo-Solis fulfilled her childhood dream when she was sworn in as National City’s first Latina mayor. Her priorities include housing and apprenticeship programs to boost the city’s workforce. She also sounded open to revisiting the city’s ban on marijuana dispensaries. (Union-Tribune)

VOSD Wants Your Votes

Do you have a question you think Voice of San Diego could answer?

You’ve got a chance to weigh in our latest voting round for The People’s Reporter, a feature that allows readers like you to submit questions.

This go-round, you can tell us if you’d prefer us to dig into the track record of the city’s Get It Done App, train deaths and the local response to them, or how the city decides which street repairs get prioritized.

Vote — and suggest other questions — here.

In Other News

  • Unmarried same-sex couples don’t have the same parental rights as heterosexual couples and the law has been slow to catch up. NBC 7 reports that one San Diego woman couldn’t be listed on her son’s birth certificate, even though she’s the boy’s biological mother.
  • A new report from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice predicts that San Diego will end 2018 with the lowest murder rate among the 30 largest American cities. (Times of San Diego)
  • La Mesa residents aren’t happy about a proposed parole office at the base of the Mt. Helix-Grossmont community. “We will do anything to stop it,” said one woman at an open house for newly elected state Sen. Brian Jones. (Fox 5)
  • Uber is offering free rides and helmets through Jan. 9 to celebrate the rollout of its e-scooters, known as JUMP. (City News Service)
  • San Diego State is setting the stage to begin checking the necessary boxes before it buys the Mission Valley stadium site. Among the first steps on the to-do list to implement the SDSU West plan approved by voters in November: Environmental reviews. (Union-Tribune)
  • Chula Vista officials say they’re cracking down on illegal pot shops as they prepare to license legal ones. (10News)

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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