Newsletter: DACA, and the fate of 200,000 in California, in doubt

DACA rally
High school students and others rally in support of DACA at the Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Nov. 13, and I’m writing from Los Angeles.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of Los Angeles high school students walked out of class to rally at the downtown federal building in support of an Obama-era policy that protects 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.

A few hours earlier and 2,669 miles to the northeast, the U.S. Supreme Court had heard arguments about the legality of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. California is home to the largest number of DACA recipients and has led the legal challenge to the Trump administration’s efforts since 2017 to wind down the program. The fate of roughly 200,000 young Californian “Dreamers,” as DACA recipients are known, now hangs in the balance.

[See also: “DACA changed a generation of California immigrants. These are some of their stories” in the Los Angeles Times]

My colleague David Savage, who has covered the Supreme Court and legal issues for the paper since 1986, reported that the high court’s conservative judges sounded skeptical about the legality of the policy during Tuesday’s oral arguments. That skepticism suggests that they may clear the way for President Trump to end the program. Given the conservative majority on the court, the best hope for DACA’s survival almost surely depends on Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., according to Savage.


During Tuesday’s arguments, Roberts appeared to agree with Trump’s claim that Obama’s policy of protecting the so-called Dreamers was legally questionable, undercutting the main legal argument used by lower courts and supporters of the program. Meanwhile, Trump’s solicitor general, Noel Francisco, ran into steady criticism from the court’s four liberal justices. The court isn’t expected to deliver their ruling until next spring.

[Read the full story: “DACA in doubt as Supreme Court conservatives question its legality” in the Los Angeles Times]

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:


Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, a tenacious advocate for immigrants, just became the first Latino elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. On the eve of his election as the new leader of U.S. bishops, Gomez sent a message to his faithful back home, urging immigration reform and alluding to Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court arguments on the DACA program. Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Gomez has in recent years evolved into a high-profile and authoritative voice in the American church, advocating for policy reforms that would include a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally. Los Angeles Times


Attention “Dirty John” fans: Christopher Goffard, the writer and host of “Dirty John,” has a new podcast from the Los Angeles Times and Wondery. In 2013, women began disappearing from the streets of Orange County. “Detective Trapp” is the story of Anaheim investigator Julissa Trapp and the case that consumed her. The first two episodes are now available exclusively for Times subscribers and will be released wide on Nov. 19. Los Angeles Times

(Have you been on the fence about subscribing to the paper? Do you love to be on the bleeding edge of The Big Podcast Everyone Is Talking About? Well, maybe this is your moment! Your support not only helps us deliver the news that matters most, it will also allow you to listen to “Detective Trapp” early. Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.)

Meet six artists making the public art you’ll soon see on Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line. When the line opens next year, the project’s eight stations, spanning 8.5 miles, will come to life with dozens of public art pieces. Los Angeles Times

Former HBO chief Richard Plepler is negotiating a deal with Apple: The man who led HBO through a creative renaissance is reportedly in advance talks on a production deal to create original programming for the tech giant’s streaming service. Los Angeles Times

Artist Mickalene Thomas with artwork that will be at one of the stations on Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line set to open next year.
(Béatrice de Géa/For the Times)

Uber will challenge L.A.’s suspension of its permit to rent out scooters and bikes. Uber’s subsidiary, Jump, is the one with the red bikes. Los Angeles Times

Leaked emails show that Santa Monica High School alumnus Stephen Miller shared white nationalist content before joining the White House. The Los Angeles native plays a direct role in shaping the Trump administration’s immigration policy. Axios

L.A. Times photo editor Alan Hagman has died at 55. Hagman captured defining Southern California images with his camera and as an editor relied on a skilled eye to tell stories from Seattle to Singapore with powerful and arresting pictures. Los Angeles Times


The U.S. held a record number of migrant children in custody in 2019. An unprecedented 69,550 migrant children were held in U.S. government custody over the past year. Associated Press


Haven’t been paying attention to the impeachment inquiry? Here’s your cheat sheet for the hearing. Los Angeles Times

Former public defender Rachel Rossi is the latest to enter the crowded L.A. County D.A.'s race. Rossi joins former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon and L.A. County Deputy Dist. Attys. Richard Ceballos and Joseph Iniguez in the push to unseat Jackie Lacey. Los Angeles Times

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and two supervisors have reconciled their dueling plans to overhaul San Francisco’s fractured mental health care system after months of political bickering. San Francisco Chronicle


Hate crimes targeting people in 2018 surged to their highest levels in 16 years despite a slight overall dip in the number of hate crimes, the FBI said in a report released Tuesday. The number of hate crimes targeting Latinos increased for the third year. Los Angeles Times

Five people injured in a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival are suing the event’s organizers, saying negligent security contributed to the deadly encounter. Los Angeles Times


Meet the scientist who’s been counting California butterflies for 47 years and has no plans to stop. Los Angeles Times


A developer has named new East Hollywood condos after the cherished cafe it demolished. The former owners of Caribbean restaurant Cha Cha Cha called it “a slap in the face.” Curbed LA

Always dreamed of chopping down your own Christmas tree? Permits are now available for Mendocino National Forest. The $10 permit allows the holder to cut one tree in designated areas. Willits News

This community college has a class to help rural homeowners prepare for wildfires. The Wildfire Protection for Rural Landowners class will be taught alongside public education offerings like belly dancing and essential oils for beginners at College of the Siskiyous. Redding Record Searchlight

For the eco-conscious tech elite, there’s a new planned community in the hills above Monterey. The Walden Monterey “agrihood” is divided into 22 lots, each of which sells for $5 million. And yes, the name is a nod to Henry David Thoreau. “For a burgeoning class of millennial millionaires, agrihoods have become an attractive alternative to the golf communities and megamansion suburbs that attracted previous generations of wealth.” Architect’s Newspaper

Artesia, a small city on the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties, has some of the best Indian restaurants in Southern California. In this week’s episode of “Off Menu,” Lucas Peterson goes on an Artesia Indian food crawl with the boys from Badmaash, L.A.'s hottest Indian restaurant. Los Angeles Times

And while we’re talking food, here’s where to eat in the South Bay. The South Bay is best known, food-wise, for its excellent Japanese restaurants. But if you know where to look, you can find bowls of really good khao soi, Korean fried chicken and cheesy mulitas. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles: partly sunny, 73. San Diego: partly sunny, 71. San Francisco: cloudy, 62. San Jose: cloudy, 72. Sacramento: cloudy, 74. More weather is here.


“New York, is it true / that in the rest of the world it is winter?”

— -Suzanne Lummis, “Shangri-La”

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Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.