What Title 42’s end means for California
From Wendy Fry of CalMatters’ California Divide team:
A pandemic-era public health policy known as Title 42, used to turn away asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border, is coming to an end just before 9 p.m. tonight, prompting concerns about unprecedented migration flows.
Meanwhile, hundreds of migrants have been waiting outside between border walls in San Ysidro for days, sometimes with nothing more to eat all day than a single granola bar handed out by Border Patrol officers.
Federal, state and local officials have had more than two years to prepare for this moment. But officials running migrant shelters on both sides of the border say they have very little information about how to handle the anticipated increase in asylum seekers trying to cross from Mexico into California and other states.
“Really, it is very much a touch-and-go situation, where we’re responding to needs in our community as they happen,” said Patrick Giuliani, policy analyst with Hope Border Institute, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides humanitarian aid.
- Giuliani: “A lot of this work of reception is falling on nonprofits and church communities locally, without the information on how many numbers of people are we seeing? What are the plans? What type of financial support is there?”
Texas and Arizona have been readying their state’s National Guard troops to go to the border, but California officials have taken less of a hard-line approach.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a statement: “While the federal government is responsible for immigration policy and processing, California has served as a model of partnership for a safe and welcoming border, undertaking humanitarian efforts in border communities to support arriving migrants once they have been released by the federal government.”
The state supports three migrant shelters, two in San Diego and one in Imperial County; two travel staging sites, one in Imperial and one in San Diego; and six temporary sheltering sites in Riverside County, Newsom’s office said. California also has invested $1 billion since 2019 and supported 350,000 migrants since April 2021 with temporary services and onward travel coordination, his office added.
Newsom’s office did not respond to questions about whether there are any additional funds or new plans in place to deal with federal policy changes this week.
Wednesday, the Biden administration published the final version of a new rule imposing what advocates say is a near-total ban on asylum at the U.S. southern border. It’s unclear how it will impact the expected increases in people trying to cross the border.
The Department of Homeland Security said the new policy will disqualify people from asylum in the U.S. if they did not first apply for it in countries they passed through. The Trump administration tried similar regulations but they were struck down by the courts.
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond, a Republican, said he plans to tour the border this morning. “Seeing the recent images of thousands of people making their way through Central America and Mexico is alarming, and I’m concerned the federal government is ill-prepared and has not put the resources in place to adequately protect San Diegans and the asylum-seeking migrants,” he said.
A new leader for CalMatters: Eight years into our mission of providing nonpartisan news and analysis for California, CalMatters is getting a new editor in chief — Kristen Go, now vice president and executive editor for news and initiatives at USA Today. She starts May 30. Read more about her from our engagement team. Founding editor Dave Lesher isn’t leaving CalMatters, but will be leading a new effort to transform government accountability reporting.
Other Stories You Should Know
1 Antioch police under the microscope
Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday that his office is launching a civil rights investigation into the Antioch Police Department. Since March, the department has come under fire after a separate, years-long investigation from the FBI and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office into the department’s improper use of force. That ongoing investigation uncovered a series of racist, sexist and homophobic texts among officers, as first reported by the East Bay Times. In response to the case, the department has placed 38 officers on administrative leave so far, according to KTVU.
- Bonta, in a statement: “Where there are allegations of potentially pervasive bias or discrimination, it can undermine the trust that is critical for public safety and our justice system. It is our responsibility to ensure that we establish a culture of accountability, professionalism, and zero tolerance for hateful or racist behavior, on or off duty.”
Bonta’s civil rights investigation will examine whether the police department made any “systemic violations” against the constitutional rights of the community. It is different from a criminal investigation, which looks into individual incidents. Bonta’s announcement said that if the office found illegal wrongdoing, his office will determine next steps, but no further details were disclosed.
Even before the attorney general stepped in, the police department has been facing major fallout since the controversy began. In addition to protests from Antioch residents outside police headquarters, Mayor Lamar Thorpe has pushed for an independent audit of the department’s internal affairs process and hiring practices. The police department is also bracing for a possible mass dismissal of cases and convictions stemming from the texting scandal.
It’s conceivable that these investigations could lead to federal oversight of the department, as even Antioch’s police chief has acknowledged. Adding more credence to the possibility: Civil rights attorney John Burris, who sued the Oakland police in 2003 — resulting in nearly 20 years (and counting) of federal oversight — filed a lawsuit in April against the Antioch Police seeking the same federal action.
2 Dissecting a bank failure
From CalMatters’ economy reporter Grace Gedye:
After one of California’s largest banks collapsed in a matter of days, regulators, legislators, and the public have been trying to piece together exactly what went wrong.
On Wednesday, legislators held an oversight hearing focused on Santa Clara-based Silicon Valley Bank’s failure in March, which was followed earlier this month by the collapse of San Francisco-based First Republic Bank. Several lawmakers’ questions focused on what role, exactly, California regulators do play and should play when it comes to overseeing larger state banks.
“We know that (state regulators) were kind of playing a second fiddle role. And I think there’s just a real question of like, okay, why do we have this role?” Sen. Dave Min, a Costa Mesa Democrat, asked in an interview with CalMatters.
Silicon Valley Bank was one of the 20 largest banks in the country. A report issued Monday by California’s bank oversight department explained that federal regulators had taken the lead in much of the bank’s supervision, and that while the San Francisco Federal Reserve had a team that grew to about 20 overseeing the bank, California had two dedicated examiners working on the bank.
The chairperson of the Senate Banking and Finance committee told CalMatters that the shared supervision system is working:
- Sen. Monique Limón, a Santa Barbara Democrat: “I don’t see us in the role of drawing back on the number of responsible, healthy state-chartered banks…. We’ve lost two of our biggest banks, but we’ve not lost all of them, right? We still have dozens of state chartered banks in our state that are doing very good work.”
In other Capitol action: A proposed constitutional amendment that supporters said would repeal a “death tax” on the transfer of property didn’t make it through the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.
The measure would wipe out a provision of Proposition 19, narrowly approved by voters in 2020, that capped the value of homes that can be inherited at their lower Prop. 13 value at $1 million. It also limited the ability of parents to pass on the property by requiring them to live in the home for the rest of their lives.
Sen. Kelly Seyarto, a Murrieta Republican who authored the bill, and other supporters say Prop. 19, which gave older Californians a tax break when buying a new home, hurts economic mobility by preventing parents and grandparents from passing on homes and businesses.
While the bill was killed in committee, the idea may be resurrected. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association quickly declared that it will try to qualify a ballot measure on the subject.
3 What about reparations checks?
From Wendy Fry of CalMatters’ California Divide team:
California politicians are trying to temper the public’s expectations after the state’s reparations task force voted this weekend to recommend direct cash payments to the descendants of enslaved people, along with a slew of other policy recommendations.
Newsom reportedly told Fox News that dealing with the legacy of slavery “is about much more than cash payments.” State Sen. Steven Bradford, an Inglewood Democrat and task force member, told Politico that the governor was acknowledging political reality.
- Bradford: “I think he’s setting a real realistic expectation that there probably won’t be check payments in the tune of or the amount that we’ve batted around for the last two years since we started this process.”
Later Wednesday, Democratic Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles and task force member, released his own statement: “I have, for the better part of two years, stated that reparations is more than just a check — it is about removing institutional barriers in the form of laws that have and continue to marginalize Black communities in California.”
But what about the check?
The United Nations lists five key components for reparations: Cessation and assurance of non-repetition, restitution and repatriation, compensation, satisfaction and rehabilitation.
The governor and elected officials’ statements seem to indicate they’re on board with the policy recommendations, but they have stopped short of saying they support the direct cash compensation part of the reparations plan the task force approved Saturday.
The full set of recommendations is expected to be delivered to the Legislature June 29.
Shepherding the task force’s recommendations through the Legislature and getting them signed into law will likely be an uphill battle, as CalMatters reported in April. In 2020, 12 legislators voted against the law creating the reparations task force, while 58 lawmakers voted in favor of it.
Recently, in an informal CalMatters email poll of the 80 Assemblymembers, just three stated their support for the task force’s two-year effort. The rest did not respond.
Reparations calculator: CalMatters has created an interactive tool to estimate how much someone might be owed in reparations for slavery and racism, under recommendations going from a task force to the Legislature and governor. Look it up here, and read the full story.
As state lawmakers struggle to overcome the power of Big Tech, local schools are looking to the courts to help combat social media harms, writes Julie Lynem, a journalism lecturer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and co-founder of R.A.C.E. Matters SLO County and RaiseUp SLO.
CalMatters columnist Dan Walters is on vacation this week; his next column will appear Monday.
Other things worth your time
Sen. Feinstein casts first vote in U.S. Senate after long absence // Los Angeles Times
Silicon Valley Bank lends $200M in first syndicated loan since collapse // Bloomberg
California confronts overdose epidemic among former inmates // California Healthline
CA top court reluctant to hold employers liable for COVID infections // Reuters
California homeowners sue to stop ‘managed retreat’ from the coast // Grist
CA’s transitional kindergarten is expanding, but progress is slow // Los Angeles Times
Downtown SF’s 350 California building sold at a bargain price // San Francisco Chronicle
U.S. Dept. of Justice backs religious group’s fight to help Santa Ana homeless // Voice of OC
San Francisco walks back plan to rip out restaurant parklets // The San Francisco Standard
Mercury News sues city of San Jose for records on firefighter scandal // The Mercury News
Rename Berkeley? How UC is responding to ‘denamed’ overseas library // San Francisco Chronicle
Bay Area scientists celebrate fusion breakthrough, aim to replicate historic moment // KQED