Newsletter: Today: Harsh Reality on the Rio Grande

Migrants from as far away as Africa face difficult choices on the border.


Harsh Reality on the Rio Grande

The headlines from the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months have focused on a surge of Central American families fleeing violence and poverty — and how the U.S. immigration system has been overwhelmed by them. But reporting along the roughly 400 miles of the Rio Grande shows a more complex picture: one that includes people from the Caribbean, South America and Africa, thousands of whom are waiting in often squalid conditions to enter the U.S. Under a Trump administration policy called metering, U.S. authorities allow only a handful of asylum seekers, if any, to pass through ports of entry each day — which raises the temptation to make dangerous and illegal river crossings.

A Haitian man, with two children in tow, wades across the Rio Grande to Del Rio, Texas.
A Haitian man, with two children in tow, wades across the Rio Grande to Del Rio, Texas.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Silent No More on Segregation

School segregation hasn’t been a major issue in a presidential race for a long time, but that doesn’t mean it has gone away. Though some of the circumstances behind it have changed, the consequences of racial and economic segregation remain a fact of daily life for millions of black and Latino children. Now the issue is back in the spotlight after Sen. Kamala Harris attacked her Democratic rival Joe Biden’s opposition to federally mandated busing in the 1970s.

More Politics

-- As they push a federal court to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Trump administration lawyers are arguing Obamacare is no longer workable. But for months, senior administration officials and lawyers have been making the exact opposite case in other settings, a review of government reports, court filings and public statements made by Trump appointees shows.

-- The Justice Department is shaking up the legal team fighting for the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census but offered no specifics on why the change was being made.

-- President Trump derided the British ambassador to the U.S. after leaked memos reportedly called the president and his administration “inept,” “insecure” and “dysfunctional.”

After the Twin Temblors

The seismic one-two punch that hit Southern California last week — a magnitude 6.4 earthquake on the Fourth of July, followed by a magnitude 7.1 quake the next day — damaged buildings, caused several gas leaks and fires, destroyed mobile homes and knocked out power in the high desert city of Ridgecrest — and in the town of Trona, which was hit even harder. As the aftershocks continue, the anxiety about another big temblor has made it hard to rest. For those farther away from the epicenter, it’s been a stark reminder to prepare for the next big quake. Here are some tips to use now.

Against the Tide

The destruction from earthquakes and wildfires is well-documented, but there is another, slow-speed disaster occurring before our eyes now: The California coast as we know it is disappearing. In the last 100 years, the sea there rose less than 9 inches; by the end of this century, as the planet gets warmer, the surge could be greater than 9 feet. At risk: not only billions of dollars in property and infrastructure, but also a large number of beaches. What to do? Experts say it’s not too late to plan. But getting everyone to accept a new reality is the hard part.

Simply the Best

The United States women’s soccer team is a World Cup champion again. The team wrapped up a second consecutive title, and fourth overall, with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. Scoring the first goal was Megan Rapinoe — “she of the purple hair and sometimes polarizing political views,” as columnist Helene Elliott puts it. And when the team got ready to accept the trophy, the U.S. fan section began chanting “equal pay” in reference to the team’s ongoing lawsuit alleging discrimination in pay and working conditions.

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-- The Los Angeles Police Department pioneered predicting crime with data. Many police officials now think it doesn’t work.

-- When the L.A. Unified School District’s random searches of students end, what’s next for school safety?

-- The Screen Actors Guild says actor Kip Pardue was “guilty of serious misconduct in violation” of the SAG-AFTRA constitution. What repercussions will he face?

-- This fast-growing East L.A. tortilla business started with two high school friends.

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-- The Farallon Islands about 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco have a mice problem that the federal government wants to solve by dropping 1.5 tons of rat poison pellets.

-- The LAPD wants to make its drone program permanent and expand the uses for the devices.

-- The Hollyhock House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, a building that was almost demolished in the 1940s, has become L.A.'s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.


-- “Spider-Man: Far From Home” marks an end to 10 years, three phases and 23 films’ worth of storytelling for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So what’s next? Here are a few spoilers.

-- For those willing to give it a try, Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge can become a live-in video game with the Disney Parks app.

-- Alongside the British Invasion, a quieter one: How João Gilberto, whose death at age 88 was announced this weekend, transformed global pop music.

-- England’s Royal Ballet has come to L.A. for the first time in years with a production of “Mayerling.”


-- Adm. William Moran, who was set to become the Navy’s top officer Aug. 1, will instead retire. It’s an extraordinary downfall prompted by what Navy Secretary Richard Spencer called poor judgment regarding a professional relationship.

-- Iran announced it had begun the process of enriching uranium beyond the limits set by a 2015 international accord aimed at keeping Tehran from eventually stockpiling weapons-grade materials.

-- Hong Kong‘s pro-democracy activists shifted to the other side of the city, Kowloon — where mainland Chinese tourists roam.

-- In Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conceded defeat after a partial vote count showed Greece’s opposition conservatives comfortably winning the parliamentary election.


-- All that online grocery shopping is causing a cold storage shortage.

-- Escaping California’s tax auditors is tough, even for those who’ve left the state.


-- The Clippers reached an agreement to sign superstar Kawhi Leonard and trade for Paul George. How could the Lakers have let this happen? Bill Plaschke says it goes to their biggest weakness.

-- How Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu rose from playing in South Korea to becoming an MLB All-Star starter.


-- Let California’s homeless community college students park overnight in school lots.


-- Trump says a teleprompter mishap led to his much-mocked July Fourth flub in which he talked about defending airports during the American Revolution. (USA Today)

-- “Why Megan Rapinoe‘s brother, Brian, is her greatest heartbreak and, hope.” (ESPN)

-- How Russia tried to meddle in the Apollo 11 moon landing mission. (Clarion Ledger)


Though Ridgecrest has been rocked by two big earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks, the residents haven’t lost their sense of humor. During open-mike night at the USO club there, a man started singing Jerry Lee Lewis’ hit “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” moments before the magnitude 7.1 event. Afterward, audience member Julie Pryor told the man his “special effects were great.” His reply: “I’m not playing that song anymore.”

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