A military police officer walks past a Border Patrol vehicle next to the secondary U.S.-Mexico border fence. / Photo by David Maung

Many, many more immigrants living in the United States could be deported without going through an immigration hearing under a new policy that took effect Tuesday. 

The policy makes two important changes to what’s known as “expedited removal,” reports VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan. Previously, a person could be removed from the country without a hearing if they were found less than 100 miles from the border and had been in the country less than two weeks. Now, border agents will be able to use expedited removal on undocumented immigrants found anywhere in the country, who can’t prove they have been in the United States for more than two years. 

Advocates worry the new policy change will only compound worries about abuses of power within the 100-mile border zone, which covers virtually all of San Diego. Border officials within that zone have broad authority to stop people, and civil rights lawyers and advocates believe the new policy could lead to more illegal stops without any process to challenge them in court.

  • The new policy comes on the heels of changes to asylum requirements that will force immigrants fleeing violence in Central America to apply for asylum in a county other than the United States first, reports the New York Times. In other words, they would no longer be able to apply for asylum at San Diego’s port of entry.  
  • Immigration raids meant to target thousands scheduled for deportation captured just 35 people, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

SANDAG Ousts Three Top Staffers

In a Tuesday email to his staff obtained by Voice of San Diego, SANDAG director Hasan Ikhrata announced the firing of three long-time staffers who were closely aligned with Ikhrata’s predecessor.

Kim Kawada, SANDAG’s chief deputy executive director; Muggs Stoll, director of land use and transportation planning; and David Hicks, director of communications, are all on the way out, the latest in a series of moves Ikhrata’s made this year that have signalled a sharp change of direction for the agency after the scandal that led to his hiring.

Kawada nearly got the vacant director’s job, until Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed her hiring because of her proximity to the scandal, in which Voice of San Diego uncovered that the agency had knowingly misled the public about how much money it was bringing in and how much it expected to collect from a proposed sales tax. 

Hicks led the agency’s response to the scandal, and an independent investigation found staffers had been told to delete emails to keep them from being turned over through public records requests. 

Stoll was the architect of the agency’s recent long-term transportation plans, which Ikhrata junked when he took over, announcing that it was impossible for the agency to meet state carbon emissions reduction mandates as long as its transportation plan resembled those that had been in place for years.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writing at UC San Diego

Tucked away on the UC San Diego campus, more than a dozen emerging science fiction and fantasy writers come together every year to hone in on their genre-writing skills.

The Clarion Writing Workshop, as Julia Dixon Evans explores in the latest Culture Report, is an intensive six-week program with an extensive list of notable instructors and alumni.

Also in this week’s Culture Report: A night market at SDCCU Stadium, new art exhibits open to the public and a reminder of those that are set to close.

Goodbye to Michael Grant

Michael Grant, a columnist for Voice of San Diego in its earliest days and a journalism professor, died Monday. The Union-Tribune wrote a proper obituary. Here’s one of his columns from the archives reflecting on his own wife’s death and the quiet, but heroic dignity of her final moments. “I have long wondered if the last moments of a person’s life must offer some kind of complete and beautiful vision of life in all its mysteries, as compensation for her loss,” he wrote. Hopefully, the answer is yes. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.

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