Newsletter: Today: An Agonizing Decision at the Border

Border Patrol agents use tear gas on migrants Sunday at the U.S.-Mexico border fence near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Amid unrest at the border, migrants from Central America in Tijuana aren’t facing any easy choices.


An Agonizing Decision at the Border

They have traveled 2,700 miles, are packed in a sports complex crowded with tents that smells of sewage, and have been told they’re not welcome — in Tijuana or the United States. For thousands of Central American migrants, the journey their caravan took has only become more difficult, their next steps all the more unclear. Should they wait months to file for asylum in the U.S., not knowing what the Trump administration will do next? Stay and work in dangerous Tijuana? Or return to the violence they fled back home? After Sunday’s skirmish and tear gassing at the border, hundreds have given up and chosen to go home, as columnist Robin Abcarian reports.


To Tell the Truth

After Paul Manafort was convicted of several felonies, he cut a deal with prosecutors to avoid a second trial. Now the special counsel’s office is accusing President Trump’s former campaign chairman of violating his plea agreement “by lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the special counsel’s office on a variety of subject matters,” according to a court filing submitted Monday evening. The special counsel’s office promised to file a “detailed” document closer to Manafort’s sentencing that “sets forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies.”

More Politics

-- Ahead of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, Trump is increasing pressure on China to make trade concessions by signaling that he won’t back down from his plan to escalate tariffs in January.


-- The Trump administration has proposed changes to Medicare’s prescription drug benefit that would affect patients’ costs over the next few years.

-- Trump’s charitable foundation made no donations last year, a sharp break from the 2016 election year when it gave away millions of dollars and drew a lawsuit alleging the charity was acting as a quasi-political group.

Between the Devil and the Deep Black Sea

A clash at sea. An election at stake. The prospect of war. Ukraine is imposing martial law in areas “subject to Russian aggression” after President Petro Poroshenko said that his country’s intelligence services had uncovered evidence of a looming Russian ground offensive. Moscow has denied any such plans and pointed the finger at Ukraine, alleging Poroshenko is trying to boost his image ahead of an election in March. Either way, the tensions have raised concerns of more military conflict after an incident involving Russian and Ukrainian boats on the Black Sea.

He Shocked the Sheriff

It’s been more than 100 years since an outsider defeated an incumbent in an election for L.A. County sheriff. On Monday, Alex Villanueva will be sworn in as the new sheriff in town, after pulling off an upset victory against Jim McDonnell. Villanueva will take over a department plagued in recent years by scandals and complaints of low morale and inadequate staffing.

When Home Is a 400-Square-Foot Garage

At Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, statistics show about 60 of the more than 700 students lived in garages last year. At least one child said he didn’t have electricity. That’s the stark reality columnist Steve Lopez and photographer Francine Orr document in the third installment of their series on children living in poverty. “There is no quiet place to do homework. There is no private space without distraction. Los Angeles kids, like their parents, make do,” Lopez writes.


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Forty years ago today, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated in an act of personal and political vengeance. Their deaths would shock the nation and put San Francisco in a tailspin, coming just over a week after more than 900 members of the city’s People’s Temple had died in the jungles of Guyana.

San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, left, and Mayor George Moscone after the signing of the city's landmark gay rights law in 1977.
(Associated Press)


-- In the Central Valley, Democrat TJ Cox slipped past Republican incumbent David Valadao to take the lead in the country’s sole remaining undecided congressional race.

-- Authorities are trying to determine the motivations and background of a 32-year-old Seattle man accused of a vehicle attack outside a synagogue in Hancock Park.

-- After reports of increased car break-ins, state Sen. Scott Wiener says he wants to close a loophole in the law that hinders prosecution.


-- Officials say a mountain lion known as P-74 probably died in the Woolsey fire that tore through Southern California communities and wilderness areas.


-- Director Bernardo Bertolucci has died at age 77. Film critic Kenneth Turan looks back at a career that was defined and sidetracked by the hype over “Last Tango in Paris.”

-- Ace of Cups, arguably the first all-female rock band of importance in the 1960s, has been rediscovered. Each of its members are now in their 70s.

-- “Come From Away,” a sold-out Broadway hit about Canadian generosity after the horrors of 9/11, is opening at the Ahmanson Theatre this week. Its message resonates today.

-- Oscar-nominated screenwriter Terry Rossio of “Shrek” fame has apologized for using a racist slur in a tweet defending people who are opposed to vaccinations.


-- In Mississippi, will Cindy Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” comment make a difference in today’s runoff election for a Senate seat?

-- After traveling 300 million miles through the solar system, NASA’s InSight spacecraft descended through the Martian sky and touched down safely.

-- Under extreme security, a former member of the Sinaloa drug cartel known as El Gordo testified against El Chapo.

-- Nearly three months ago, a judge ordered the release of an Egyptian photojournalist. So why is he still in prison?

-- Geneticists explain why it’s wrong to edit the DNA of embryos, even if it’s to protect children against HIV.


-- General Motors will cut as many as 14,000 workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it abandons many of its car models and restructures.

-- The Supreme Court sounds open to letting Apple stand trial in a civil suit alleging it uses monopolistic power to unfairly profit from the sale of third-party apps offered on iPhones.


-- The Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic, a former USC star, is making his mark in the NBA.

-- The L.A. Kings’ Ilya Kovalchuk has a three-year, $18.75-million contract. Lately, he’s been spending a lot of time riding the pine.


-- Countless Americans carry guns. Police are killing too many of them.

-- We frame California’s history as romantic more than xenophobic. We need to feel the shame.


-- Islamic State may be gone, but Iraq’s Yazidis are still suffering. (Foreign Policy)

-- What to make of the red trees that are part of the White House’s holiday decorations this year? Melania Trump did not show up to explain. (Washington Post)

-- All 45 “Peanuts” specials, ranked. Did you even know there are 45? (Vulture)


Deep within a Little Tokyo shopping mall, inside an Asian supermarket, is a tiny taqueria serving burritos, quesadillas, tacos and aguas frescas. You were expecting something different? The idea behind Bad Son Tacos is to give an alternative to the usual sushi and ramen options, but perhaps the most intriguing thing about the place, other than the food, is its name. Let’s just say it started with a good old-fashioned father-son argument….

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