Newsletter: Essential California: Seeking asylum in the Trump era

Rubilia Sanchez, second from left, a Guatemalan woman, and her four oldest daughters have been in immigration court, fighting for an opportunity to stay legally in the United States.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, June 14, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ order to stop immigration judges from granting asylum to virtually all those claiming to be victims of domestic or gang violence has placed thousands in limbo, and added a new wrinkle to the shifting borders of gang wars in the U.S. and Central America. Gang violence has raged in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, some of which has its roots in American streets. As gang violence exploded in L.A. and other U.S. cities, authorities responded by deporting gang members en masse back to Central America, heightening violence in those countries and increasing asylum cases. Los Angeles Times

— How the asylum system is unraveling. The New Yorker


California members of Congress joined a protest against the separation of families at the border. They tried to get arrested, but security guards wouldn’t take them. Los Angeles Times

The Fox hunt is on

Comcast Corp. on Wednesday offered $65 billion in cash for much of 21st Century Fox, a 19% premium over a December offer from Walt Disney Co. Comcast’s move comes 24 hours after a federal judge in Washington ruled that AT&T could acquire Time Warner Inc. Los Angeles Times

— With the AT&T deal on its way, Fox is now the belle of the ball in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times

— The impact of mega-mergers: Bigger bundles but not necessarily cheaper ones. Wall Street Journal

Netflix has upended the media business. Is is too late for the formerly big guys to catch up? CNBC


— Has the Mouse been outfoxed? Variety

— The floodgates are open. Are we prepared for what happens next? Business Insider

Cold-case files

When DNA offered a break in the four-decade manhunt for the notorious Golden State Killer, cold-case investigators across California wondered if the man who was arrested was behind their own unsolved crimes. One of the most high-profile cases involved a double slaying in Simi Valley in 1978, which had been reopened recently when detectives discovered that the man who was convicted and sent to prison in the slayings was innocent. Now, those investigators are back to the drawing board. A DNA comparison between the Golden State Killer suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., and samples taken from the Simi Valley crime scene did not match. Los Angeles Times

Get the Essential California newsletter »

Donna Williams sits next to husband Ken Williams, 67, lying in bed next to a memorial wall with the names of homeless people who have died on the streets in Santa Barbara.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times )


A veteran’s fight: “He fought to bring attention to the many lives wasting away on the streets of Santa Barbara, even if it meant taking on local leaders in person or in his passionate jeremiads. Then he fought the disease and battled to get the medicine he needed as he suffered through chemotherapy and pneumonia and infection.” — Columnist Steve Lopez’s tribute to a man who fought to help the homeless to the end. Los Angeles Times

Seeking answers: Los Angeles city lawmakers raised concerns at a hearing Wednesday about a video that alarmed San Pedro residents when it spread through social media in January: a disheveled and seemingly agitated man being dropped off in the neighborhood by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies. Los Angeles Times

Those scooters: Santa Monica’s City Council has unanimously voted to approve a 16-month pilot program that will allow scooter rental companies such as Bird and Lime to continue operating in the city, as long as they meet certain conditions. Los Angeles Times

Get your kicks: Route 66 is now one big step closer to historic designation by the federal government, and that could be a good thing for cities along the route. Orange County Register

One of our own: The fascinating backstory of the man who for decades has been giving tours of the L.A. Times building. L.A. Taco


“We have been hurt”: More women, including the daughter of a prominent USC professor, come forward with tales of alleged abuse at the hand of campus gynecologist. Los Angeles Times

Under review: Los Angeles County prosecutors Wednesday began reviewing whether actor Sylvester Stallone should face charges in connection with a sexual assault reported last year to Santa Monica police, a spokesman said. Los Angeles Times

Indicted: A former Department of Homeland Security agent has been charged with lying to federal investigators about whether he provided confidential information from a federal law enforcement database to another person involved in an immigration fraud scheme. San Diego Union-Tribune

Honk if you … : The ACLU is fighting laws that make it illegal to honk your horn during protests. San Diego Union-Tribune


Avenatti update: An Orange County lawyer has asked a bankruptcy judge to seize much of the $577,000 donated to porn actress Stormy Daniels to pay legal bills in her suit against President Trump. The lawyer is trying to collect on a $10-million judgment he won last month against the Newport Beach firm of Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti. Los Angeles Times

Historic: The nail-biter of a San Francisco mayor’s race is finally over. SF Gate

Inside story: Emails reveal why Trump and his administration attacked Oakland’s mayor over making ICE raids public. Mercury News

Good question: If California is so flush with cash, why isn’t a tax refund in the offing? Sacramento Bee

Will it play in Tulare? The guy trying to unseat Devin Nunes is turning to some Hollywood heavyweights in his long-shot bid. Fresno Bee


True crime: A writer who devoted his life to telling the tale of L.A.’s darkest side. L.A. Review of Books

At long last: A scenic stretch of Highway 1 in Monterey County that was buried last year by a massive landslide will reopen by the end of July. Los Angeles Times

Back in action: After a 14-year hiatus, the Parr family is making its long-awaited return with “Incredibles 2.” Despite the long gap, Hollywood believes it has a big hit to help the ailing box office. Los Angeles Times

Such a deal: For the price of a modest apartment in San Francisco, you can own an entire California town. SF Gate

First person: “If war breaks out, my parents’ home in Seoul is in easy striking distance of North Korean artillery, and my brother and other military reservists would be called up to fight.” — Times reporter Victoria Kim on the very personal stakes of Korea. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: sunny, 82, Thursday; sunny, 77, Friday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 75, Thursday; partly cloudy, 72, Friday. San Francisco area: sunny, 68, Thursday; partly cloudy, 63, Friday. Sacramento: sunny, 93, Thursday; sunny, 86, Friday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Carmen Gonzalez:

“My memory of the Golden State is an urban recollection of driving with my dad along the Santa Ana Freeway to his home in the City of Commerce, fascinated by the pop culture markers of billboard ads along the way. I came to treat these signposts as familiar acquaintances, noting the ownership of each: Legg, Pacific Outdoor, Kaiser, and others. It is a nostalgic time of moments with my father and a young passenger’s view of L.A. culture.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.