Newsletter: The mystery of a tent courthouse

tent courts
The tent courts in south Texas were built on Homeland Security land, which is generally not open to the public, unlike federal immigration courts.
(Molly Hennessy-Fiske / Los Angeles Times)

There are more questions than answers about tent courtrooms built by the U.S. Border Patrol in south Texas.


The Mystery of a Tent Courthouse


A massive new U.S. immigration tent court on the banks of the Rio Grande in south Texas could open as soon as this week, but much about it and another one in Brownsville remains a mystery. What day the hearings will begin, where lawyers should file paperwork and even whether attorneys can meet their clients beforehand — all remain unanswered. “The question is who’s going to have jurisdiction over these courts?” says one immigration attorney. The tent courts are also unique because they were built on Homeland Security land, which is generally not open to the public, unlike federal immigration courts. They’re expected to exclusively host hearings for migrants who have been returned to Mexico to await the outcome of their asylum cases under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program.

Can She Recapture the Magic?

In the nearly eight months since Sen. Kamala Harris formally launched her White House bid, she’s fallen into a familiar pattern: headline-grabbing moments that propel her forward, followed by extended doldrums. At the same time, her campaign has had to adjust its strategy to account for the strength of rivals such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Now well back in the crowded pack, Harris faces intense pressure for a standout performance in Thursday’s debate among 10 Democratic presidential contenders.

Clamping Down on Vaccinations

California already has some of the nation’s tightest childhood immunization laws. Now the state will enact sweeping new restrictions on medical exemptions for vaccines under bills signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday. The action came despite near-constant protests in the state Capitol. Together the two bills will create state oversight of medical exemptions for vaccines required to attend public and private schools, as well as day care centers.

More From Sacramento

— State lawmakers sought to block the Trump administration from allowing new oil and gas wells in national parks and wilderness areas in the state.

— California teachers, school administrators and employers could ask the courts to take guns away from people they see as a danger to themselves or the public under a major expansion of the state’s “red flag” law approved by the Legislature and sent to Newsom.

— The state Assembly gave final legislative approval to a bill designed to open up the pristine beaches of Hollister Ranch, giving hope to advocates and officials whose efforts to secure public access have been thwarted for decades.

‘Not on My Sidewalk’?

L.A. city officials are considering a plan that would keep homeless people from sleeping or otherwise resting on streets and sidewalks in at least 26% of the city, according to a Times analysis. More than half of some neighborhoods, including Westlake, Koreatown and Watts, would be off limits. Homeless people are already supposed to clear out of many parks that make up an additional 15% of the city. Activists say the plan is cruel and perpetuates stereotypes. This interactive map breaks down the potentially restricted areas.

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On this day in 1976, Kathleen became the first tropical storm to slam Los Angeles since 1939, killing six people, aiming the worst of its wrath at the Imperial Valley and requiring many rescues — including one of a 13-year-old bicyclist from Covina who was washed into the Walnut Creek flood control channel and had to be hauled up with a rope. In Playa del Rey, Los Angeles Times staff photographer Art Rogers found another youngster, pictured below, “surfing” through floodwaters on a bicycle at Culver Boulevard and Pacific Avenue. The photo appeared on the front page of The Times the next morning.

Sep. 10, 1976: A youngster makes the most of the wettest Sept. 10 in local history by gliding bike through a flooded area in Playa del Rey.
(Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)


— Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the Southern California boat fire that killed 34 people on Labor Day, focusing on possible violations of maritime safety rules, two law enforcement sources told The Times.

— The Walker fire in Plumas National Forest northeast of Sacramento has quickly become the state’s biggest so far this year.

— A Southern California grocery store strike is looking less likely as workers at Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons stores vote on a new union-negotiated contract.

— He’s accused of running a heroin ring like a pizza delivery service. Now he’ll spend nearly 20 years in prison.


— At the Toronto International Film Festival, we talked with “Marriage Story” director Noah Baumbach and star Adam Driver about the old L.A.-versus-New York debate, and they volunteered some very specific differences they’ve found.

— In their new book, the two New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story describe how they persuaded his accusers to go public.

— The drama surrounding the race for SAG-AFTRA president has turned dark with a gunshot GIF.

Jacqueline Stewart will helm TCM‘s “Silent Sunday Nights” and become the network’s first black host.

— From “Get Out” to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Bradley Whitford made a name playing menacing men. In NBC’s new comedy “Perfect Harmony,” he’ll play a decent guy with a chip on his shoulder.


— After canceling a secret meeting with Taliban and Afghan leaders, President Trump on Monday said of the peace talks: “They’re dead. They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.”

— U.S. emergency workers found five bodies in the debris left by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, and they said they expected to find more victims a week after the devastating storm hit.

— British lawmakers, now sidelined during a crucial Brexit countdown, weighed an extraordinary proposition Monday: whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be trusted to abide by a law to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union with no withdrawal agreement.

— South Korea’s military says North Korea launched two projectiles toward the sea, hours after the North offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States.


— Attorneys general from every state except California and Alabama say they’ve launched an antitrust investigation into Google, days after a separate group of states announced a similar probe into Facebook‘s dominance.

— The successful black-owned South L.A. restaurant Post & Beam may have a new owner, but it’s still in local hands.


Lynn Swann has resigned as USC athletic director after three tumultuous years atop the prestigious department. Columnist Bill Plaschke says it’s about time.

Kent State says it’s sorry it stopped a Division 1 women’s field hockey game for midday fireworks prior to the men’s football season opener. The move was panned for sending the message that women’s sports aren’t a priority.


— L.A.'s homeless outreach efforts are limited by the shortage of available housing, but they’re also more critical than ever, The Times Editorial Board writes. Outreach workers must do a better job getting homeless people the services available now.

— Trump’s support from within his Republican party isn’t as high as he claims, but it’s higher than it should be, Jonah Goldberg writes. That’s because his combative, hyper-partisan stance commands loyalty akin to what a wartime president gets.

— In the Democratic primary race, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are gaining on Joe Biden because the return to a centrist normal that the former vice president promises was never that great for most Americans, Robert Kuttner writes.


— Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly threatened to fire top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees if they didn’t disavow a tweet about Hurricane Dorian. (New York Times)

— He’s the 44-year-old heir to a New York real estate fortune worth $4.7 billion. He’s also a self-taught expert on dry-land agriculture who presides over a rural empire and promises to remember “anyone who screwed me over.” (Bloomberg)

Jerry Falwell Jr. presides over a culture of fear and self-dealing at Liberty University, steering resources from the world’s largest Christian college into projects and real estate deals in which his friends and family have stood to make personal financial gains, officials say. (Politico Magazine)


It’s the story of a lovely … house. Specifically, the “Brady Bunch” house in Studio City, which was used for exterior shots in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The interior, however, didn’t look anything like the quarters that Mr. and Mrs. Brady, their six kids and housekeeper Alice inhabited — until some TV home makeover experts and the actors who played those six kids took out the sledgehammers and got to work. Here are seven groovy moments from “A Very Brady Renovation.”

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