Overworked and underprepared: That’s how a new report describes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I’m Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today.
Cold Reality: ICE Isn’t Ready to Ramp Up Deportations
President Trump’s plans to step up deportations of people residing illegally in the U.S. are hitting a wall. According to a new government report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has “overwhelming caseloads,” its records are “likely inaccurate,” and its deportation policies and procedures “are outdated and unclear.” The overworked staff probably won’t be getting a lot of help any time soon. Case in point: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where two out of three applicants fail its lie detector test.
-- Trump was upbeat about a revived Republican healthcare bill that he said could pass as soon as next week.
-- The president directed the Commerce Department to expedite an investigation into whether the way other countries sell steel compromises U.S. national security.
-- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti used his State of the City address to present Los Angeles as a compassionate counterpoint to Trump’s policies. The top priority in the mayor’s proposed budget is fighting homelessness.
Why L.A.’s Construction Jobs Pay Less Today
Trump often talks of immigrants taking Americans’ jobs and pushing down wages, but the reality can be more complex. Look no further than Los Angeles’ construction job market. Just a few decades ago it was two-thirds white and heavily unionized; now it’s 70% Latino, heavily immigrant and largely non-union. But for more than a decade before the influx of immigrants, the push was on to shun union labor and drive down wages. “Immigrants are not the cause of this, they are the effect,” says one sociologist who has studied the history of Southern California construction.
A Shootout in Paris
With the first round of France’s presidential elections coming up Sunday, Paris was already on high alert when a gunman opened fire on a police van on the Champs-Elysées, killing one officer and injuring two other people. Officers shot and killed the attacker, whom Islamic State claimed as one of its own.
Dispatches From the Culture Wars
It was on, then off, and now it’s…. UC Berkeley officials say they have reversed their decision to cancel conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s appearance next week and rescheduled it to May 2, but Coulter tweeted that she’s still going to show up for the original date. Meanwhile, conservative media are abuzz about the firing of Bill O’Reilly, who is leaving Fox News with $25 million. And check out L.A. Times TV critic Lorraine Ali’s take on “a man who ripped up and reshaped the modern media landscape.”
What’s Bad for GM … in Venezuela
Food is scarce, inflation is soaring, and bloody street protests in Venezuela have been aimed at the removal of President Nicolas Maduro and his leftist government. Major international companies there also have run into problems, such as Coca-Cola suspending production last year because of sugar shortages. The latest is GM, which pulled out of Venezuela after it says government authorities illegally seized its plant. Maduro says it’s the “corrupt” business leaders who are causing problems.
“For years, the literati have sneered at Southern California, dismissing the place as a brain-dead tanning salon with beauty — not books — on its mind. Well, get a clue, New York.” That was from a preview story of the first L.A. Times Festival of Books in 1996, which featured the likes of Ray Bradbury, Carolyn See and Abigail “Dear Abby” Van Buren. Twenty-one years later, the festival is still going strong. I’ll be interviewing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Saturday at USC. Here are some of this year’s highlights.
-- “I took someone’s life — now I am giving back”: In California’s prisons, inmates teach each other how to start over.
-- U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel of San Diego, who presided over the Trump University case and whom Trump criticized, is back in the spotlight with a case involving Trump’s immigration policies.
-- A former Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping his 15-year-old student was arrested in Northern California after authorities found them in an isolated cabin.
-- The sheriff of Kern County wants it declared a “law and order” county, not a “sanctuary” one.
-- Here’s how one couple turned their front lawn into a welcoming extension of their Woodland Hills home.
-- A day trip to the Salton Sea? Sure!
-- The Times’ Test Kitchen’s favorite muffin recipes.
-- Check out the California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Two views of “The Graduate”: Watch L.A. Times film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang talk about how Mike Nichols’ landmark 1967 film resonates (or doesn’t) today.
-- Theater critic Charles McNulty says Bette Midler and “Hello, Dolly!” are a match that makes for Broadway heaven.
-- Two architecture professors from USC and UCLA discuss the ugliness of L.A.’s new buildings and more with architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne.
-- Gear up for the second weekend of Coachella with these photos of last weekend’s festivities.
-- Fox is resurrecting “The X-Files” yet again.
-- Convicted murderer Ledell Lee was executed in Arkansas on Thursday shortly before midnight in the state’s first death row execution since 2005.
-- The mystery of how a prominent African American judge came to be found floating dead in the Hudson River has deepened. Police originally called it suicide but are now treating the case as suspicious.
-- The highest court in Massachusetts has approved the dismissal of more than 21,000 drug convictions that were tainted by the misconduct of a former state drug lab chemist.
-- Talk at a Turkish teahouse: After a raging referendum debate, a calm prevails.
-- The FCC voted to ease limits on broadcast TV ownership and on prices that large telecom companies can charge businesses and governments for bulk broadband services.
-- Columnist David Lazarus looks at one man’s frustrating hookup with a dating service that ended in irreconcilable differences.
-- Columnist Bill Plaschke says the NFL schedule maker gave L.A.’s newest team a hand: “The Chargers got the cool dates. The Rams got the odd dates.”
-- Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has a vision to improve the game, and it’s more radical than you think.
-- Trump’s anti-science budget will be a disaster for America’s bottom line. That’s one more reason to think about Saturday’s March for Science.
-- This writer voted for Trump. After Syria, he feels betrayed.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- “We were there for four hours, man!” Ted Nugent describes the White House visit he, Kid Rock and Sarah Palin made. (New York Times)
-- The summer of ’67 changed Boston. (Boston Globe)
-- The artists who painted and sketched World War I. (Atlas Obscura)
ONLY IN L.A.
You’ve seen the artworks of Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie and Lisa Anne Auerbach in museums and art galleries. So what are they doing at the Beverly Center? Acting as construction barriers, as the mall undergoes a $500-million renovation. Here’s a look at some high-end “pardon our dust” signs.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.
If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends.