Latino Voices

Latino Voices

BORDER PATROL ELIMINATES “COVER-UP UNITS” AFTER CRITICISMS

By Miriam Raftery

May 6, 2022 (San Diego) -- Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a memo announcing the elimination of Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs), which critics have accused of repeatedly interfering with law enforcement investigations of agents involved in killing or harming community members. The memo shifts responsibility for investigating critical incidents to the Office of Professional Responsibility.


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CBP ADVISES TRAVELING PUBLIC ON EASTER EGG REGULATIONS

Source:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Photo: a CBP agriculture specialist examines a commercial importation of cascarones

April 13, 2022 (Laredo, Texas) - With the Easter festivities right around the corner, CBP is reminding the traveling public that cascarones (confetti-filled eggshells) are restricted to quantities of 12 per passenger and the shells may be decorated, etched, or painted but they must be clean, dry, and free of any egg residue.  They may contain confetti or other unregulated items.


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MIGRANT EXPULSIONS UNDER TITLE 42 COVID RESTRICTIONS TO END MAY 23 AS HEALTH CRISIS EASES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Border fence, cc by ND

Update April 23, 2022: A federal judge has temporarily blocked the lifting of Title 42 restrictions.

April 9, 2022 (San Diego) – At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the Trump administration began expelling migrants without access to asylum hearings under Title 42.  Now, after lifting of most other pandemic mandates, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control director has announced that suspending migrants’ rights is “no longer necessary” after “considering current public health conditions and an increased availability of tools to fight COVID-19, such as highly effective vaccines and therapeutics,” the CDC announced in a statement.


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HORROR SHORT FILMS PRESENTED AT THE LATINO FILM FESTIVAL

View video of producers/directors discussing their horror films at the Latino Film Festival:  https://youtu.be/R-yPZqsWsTM

By Matthew Manosh

Photo:  right to left: Blake Vaz, John Estrada, Enrique A. Mendoza, Camilla Demichelis Richard

March 22, 2022 (San Diego) - The Latino Film Festival showcased Un Mundo Extrano - Folk Tales and Speculations on March 20th, the festival’s closing day.  This showcase was curated by Miguel Rodriguez, the founder and executive producer of Horrible Imaginings, a 13-year-old horror-based festival slated for September 1-4 in Santa Ana, according to Filmfreeway.


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EAST COUNTY FILMMAKERS AMONG FINALISTS IN MIGRANT VOICES COMPETITION AT SAN DIEGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL

By Matthew Manosh

Photos:  finalists Diego Lynch, Mimi Pollack and Bettina Hanna created films set in San Diego’s East County.

March 21, 2022 (San Diego) – Migrant stories from around the world were poignantly displayed at the San Diego Latino Film Festival on March 15, when finalists in the fourth annual Migrant Voices Today Challenge were presented. The finalists included East County producers and directors as well as stories set in East County.


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BIDEN ADMINISTRATION SEEKS COST-SAVING ALTERNATIVES TO DETAINING SOME MIGRANTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons image by SA-NC via Bing

March 14, 2022 (San Diego) – The Biden administration has announced a 120-day pilot program in Houston and Baltimore to test placing migrants into house arrest as an alternative to detention facilities while they await immigration hearings. The home curfew program would cost only $6 to $8 a day per person, far less than the $142 per day for detention in a facility, Reuters reports.


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DIRECTORS, PRODUCERS IN SPOTLIGHT AT LATINO FILM FESTIVAL’S OPENING NIGHT

By Matthew Manosh

Photo:  Actor Pepe Serna, center, with other film festival luminaries on opening night

 

March 14, 2022 (San Diego)-- The Latino Film Festival officially kicked off with an opening event on March 10, with several producers and directors of films present.  Among them was Luis Reyes, who directed the film Pepe Serna Life is Art, a documentary film which premiered at the festival.


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LATINO FILM FESTIVAL TO AIR OVER 160 FILMS MARCH 10-20

Documentary co-produced by ECM journalist Mimi Pollack is among finalists.

By Matthew Manosh

March 10, 2022 (San Diego) --The 29th Annual San Diego Latino Festival begins March 10th and runs through March 20th at the Fashion Valley AMC. It will be the first time the festival will be in person since the start of the pandemic.

The festival features over 160 films from Central America and The United States, including local film makers from San Diego. Each day they’ll have art from prominent Latino artists on display, as well as daily live music. The full schedule of the events can be found here.

There are many remarkable films being shown in the 10 days of the festival, including films from film makers from in and around San Diego and East County.


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IMMIGRANT RIGHTS GROUP PRAISES CONGRESSIONAL ACTION TO INVESTIGATE BORDER PATROL “COVER-UP UNITS”

East County News Service

January 29, 2022  (San Diego) – This week, 10 House and Senate committee chairs sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an investigation into the involvement of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s Critical Incident Teams (CITs) along the southern border region. 


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ALL VISITORS TO U.S. MUST NOW SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION AT BORDER, INCLUDING THOSE TRAVELING FOR ESSENTIAL REASONS

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2022 (San Diego) – Starting tomorrow, all people entering the U.S. at the Mexican or Canadian borders must be fully vaccinated, except for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and U.S. nationals.  The new requirement will apply to both essential and non-essential travelers, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced.


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IN FAMILIAR REFRAIN, UNITED FARM WORKERS GRAPPLES WITH HOW TO GROW

By Melissa Montalvo and Nigel Duara, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo:  Protestors wave to passerbys, on Sept. 25, 2021 in Yountville, CA, as they make their way towards PlumpJack Winery, owned by Gov. Gavin Newsom, to protest the governor’s veto of bill AB 616. Photo by Rahul Lal for CalMatters

January 19, 2022 (San Diego) - When the nation’s high court effectively forbade union representatives from accessing fields and orchards to recruit workers last June, the United Farm Workers union turned to Sacramento for help. 


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12 INJURED IN PINE VALLEY CRASH AFTER BORDER PATROL PURSUIT

East County News Service

December 9, 2021 (Pine Valley) – A dozen passengers in the back of a pickup truck were ejected and suffered moderate to major injuries on December 7 after a pursuit from Border Patrol agents ended in a crash. None of the passengers were wearing seatbelts; only the driver was restrained.


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BORREGO ART INSTITUTE SEEKS WORKS BY LATINO ARTISTS FOR JANUARY SHOW

East County News Service

December 5, 2021 (Borrego Springs) – The Borrego Art Instituted has issued a call for artworks by artists of Latino heritage or art strongly influenced by Latino culture.


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THOUSANDS OF FARMWORKERS WILL GET PAY RAISES THANKS TO A LAWSUIT

By Melissa Montalvo, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo:  CC by NC via Bing

December 5, 2021 (San Diego) - Tens of thousands of California’s guest farmworkers and U.S. farmworkers will see pay increases in 2022, which advocates say comes thanks to their lawsuit to stop a Trump-era wage freeze.


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BORDER PATROL AGENT FIRES AT NAKED, ROCK-THROWING MAN

East County News Service

November 18, 2021 (Otay) – The U.S. Border Patrol reports that yesterday around 7 a.m. in a remote section of Otay Mountain, a naked man hurled rocks at an agent, striking him multiple times including in the head.  “During the confrontation, the agent discharged his firearm, but the suspect was not struck,” says Lieutenant Thomas Seiver with the Sheriff’s homicide unit, which is investigating the case. 


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TWO SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES CALL ON DEPT. OF JUSTICE TO INVESTIGATE BORDER PATROL “SHADOW UNITS”

By Miriam Raftery

November 17, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego Congressional members Juan Vargas and Sara Jacobs, along with Congressman Juan Castro of Texas, have sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigation allegations of critical incident teams or “shadow units” within the U.S. Border Patrol.


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PUBLIC ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT QUESTIONS FOR TRUTH ACT FORUM ON ACCESS TO IMMIGRANTS IN DETENTION FACILITIES

Deadline Nov. 14 (4:59pm) to send in comments for Nov. 16 forum

https://forms.office.com/g/nTtj9mtqpY

By: Chuck Westerheid, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 9, 2021 (San Diego County Administration Building) - The TRUTH Act community forum including a report from the Sheriff’s Department will be held November 16, 2021, during the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors’ meeting, which is open to the public.


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IMMIGRANT ADVOCATES CALL FOR PROSECUTIONS, CONGRESSIONAL PROBE INTO OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE BY BORDER PATROL’S SHADOW FORCE

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2021 (San Diego) – The Southern Border Communities Coalition has sent documents to Congress and to the District Attorney which reveal “unlawful operation of Border Patrol’s Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs),” a press release states. In shocking revelations, the documents detail how the shadow force teams “act without congressional authority to obstruct justice, undermine public safety, and violate public trust.” 


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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ENDS CASE QUOTAS FOR IMMIGRATION JUDGES IMPOSED BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: immigration court, Creative Commons image by NC-ND

October 21, 2021 (San Diego) – The U.S. Justice Department, under the Biden administration, has ended case quotas for immigration judges imposed during the Trump administration, CNN reports. 

The Trump-era performance metrics had required judges to complete 700 cases a year to receive a satisfactory rating, among other benchmarks. But that policy led to complaints from judges who argued that the quotas valued haste over due process.  


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WHITE HOUSE LIFTS RESTRICTIONS FOR VACCINATED TRAVELERS FROM CANADA AND MEXICO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  international border crossing at San Ysidro, via U.S. Customs & Border Patrol

October 13, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - The White House has announced an easing of COVID-related Title 19 travel restrictions along the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. Starting next month, non-essential travel across borders will be permitted for travelers who are fully vaccinated. Essential travelers will have to show proof of vaccination starting in January.


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BIDEN TAKES STEPS TO PROTECT DREAMERS, AIMS TO REOPEN DACA APPLICATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium

October 1, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – A federal district court judge in July declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal in part because the Obama administration did not allow public comments by publishing the rule in the Federal Register. Judge Andre Hanen let stand the program for those already enrolled, but blocked new applications.

So now the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security has published the regulation, which is open for public comments until November 29.  The department has also appealed the court decision.


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BORDER PATROL AGENTS AND OFFICERS TO BEGIN WEARING BODY CAMERAS

Source: USCBP

August 6, 2021 (Washington D.C.) --  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun outfitting an initial group of agents and officers with body-worn cameras to better enhance its policing practices and reinforce trust and transparency.


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ACLU AND JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE URGE A STOP TO SPLITTING FAMILIES AT THE BORDER

East County News Service

July 29, 2021 (San Diego) - The ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLUF-SDIC) and Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on July 13, calling on him to direct border agents to stop separating families seeking asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico.


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BORSTAR AGENTS RESCUE MAN LOST IN REMOTE WILDERNESS NEAR DULZURA

East County News Service

July 22, 2021 (Dulzura) --  Members of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) San Diego Sector’s (SDC) Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team rescued a Mexican citizen yesterday who was lost in East County San Diego and suffering from a heat emergency.


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LOCAL IMMIGRANT ADVOCATES SPEAK OUT ON DACA COURT RULING

"Our contributions to this country are innumerable. Yet, there’s no path to citizenship for us. We pay taxes, build the economy, and contribute to our communities during a pandemic. Yet, we are rejected and insulted once more. Every day that we live without a path to citizenship, is a day filled with anxiety and fear.” -- Dulce Garcia, an undocumented immigrant and attorney who chairs the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego immigrant advocates are reacting in shock to a federal judge’s ruling which orders the Biden administration to halt approval of any new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications. The judge also issued a stay temporarily protecting those already granted DACA protections from deportation – but warned that Congress must act to make protections permanent, or the stay might be lifted.

DACA was created through an executive order by President Barack Obama, protecting thousands of young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay here, hold jobs and attend school. Known as “Dreamers,” many have been here nearly their entire lives. The ruling creates an uncertain future for 305,000 DACA recipients and another 854,000 eligible for DACA in southern border states, according to the Southern Border Communities Coalition. Some have been in the U.S. for many years, and some are now married or parents of U.S. citizens.


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UNIDENTIFIED MIGRANT FOUND DEAD IN REMOTE DULZURA AREA

Update July 28, 2021: The deceased man has been identified as Victor Sosa-Soto, 33,  of Villa Hidalgo, Mexico, according to the San Diego Medical Examiner.

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

Photo: Grave of an unknown migrant in Hemet, one of 10,000 people estimated to have died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since 1994, according to Border Angels. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the rate is increasing, with more migrants dying crossing the border in the first three months of 2021 than in all of 2019.

 

July 18, 2021 (Dulzura) – On June 30, a search and rescue group found the body of a male believed to be from Mexico, part of a group of undocumented immigrants crossing the international border.


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U.S. TO STOP DETAINING PREGNANT OR NURSNG IMMIGRANTS, EXCEPT IN EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES

By Miriam Raftery

July 10, 2021 (San Diego) – A Trump-era executive order that required detention of pregnant undocumented immigrants has been blamed for putting lives of women and babies at risk, with many women suffering miscarriages in detention centers. On July 1, Tae Johnson, acting director of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a statement reversing that policy in nearly all situations.

The rule goes farther than the Obama administration policy that limited detention of pregnant migrants.  The Biden administration directive also bans most detentions of nursing mothers and mothers with infants under one year of age, to allow bonding with newborns. Now, most women awaiting outcomes of immigration or asylum cases will be released.

An exception is provided, however, for anyone required under U.S. laws to be detained, such as foreign nationals convicted of terrorist acts or certain other serious crimes. In such cases, a pregnant or nursing woman detained would be required to receive adequate medical care.  The new directive also prohibits restrains in most cases, including banning the shackling of pregnant women while in labor, an action that has drawn international outcry.


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HOW COVID-19 SWEPT CALIFORNIA’S MARIACHIS

As work dried up for mariachi bands, many musicians put themselves at risk for coronavirus transmission. Over 50 Mariachi musicians have died of COVID-19 in the past year.

 

By Jacqueline Garcia, Cal Matters

 

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

 

Photo courtesy of Mariachi Nuevo Guadalajara

 

July 2, 2021 (San Diego) - Hundreds of mariachis come to Boyle Heights in Los Angeles from across the United States and Mexico, in search of work. They gather at Mariachi Plaza, a small park with a bandstand and kiosk that holds a special place in their hearts because it was donated by the Mexican State of Jalisco, the birthplace of this music. They wait for people to call or stop by to hire them.


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HARRIS VISITS GUATEMALA, MEXICO IN FIRST FOREIGN TRIP AS U.S. VICE PRESIDENT

Source:  Voice of America

Photo:  Photo: Vice President Kamala Harris in Guatemala City, via her Twitter feed

June 28, 2021 (Guatemala/Mexico) - The United States is set to announce Monday new measures to fight drug smuggling and trafficking as Vice President Kamala Harris meets with leaders in Guatemala to discuss migration and security issues. 


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TORTILLAS THROWN AT HIGH SCHOOL TEAM LEADS TO CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND MOVING CIF CHAMPIONSHIP

By Briana Gomez

Photo: Screenshot via 10 News of rally outside Coronado High School at which activists from multi-racial communities called for action including moving the CIF championship

June 23, 2021 (Coronado) -- Two press conferences were held Tuesday after Coronado High School received backlash for racist remarks and actions against Latinx students from an opposing basketball team.


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