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View Full Version : Why illegal immigration isn't to blame for the state budget crisis


Jeanfromfillmore
12-23-2009, 03:39 PM
Why illegal immigration isn't to blame for the state budget crisis
Even without the costs attributed to the undocumented population, we couldn't pay for the programs we consistently list as priorities, including first-rate education, transportation and public safety.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the process of crafting a budget for the coming fiscal year that must close a nearly $21-billion gap between expected revenue and required spending, so a little lashing out is understandable. But he's seen enough disastrous budget years now to know how readily -- and wrongly -- many people blame the state's problem on illegal immigration. So it's a shame that the governor fueled just that sort of thinking in televised comments over the weekend.

It's probably true, as Schwarzenegger said Sunday on "State of the Union" on CNN, that California pays "approximately a billion dollars for the incarceration of undocumented immigrants" and gets only $100 million in return. The federal government does indeed have an obligation to reimburse the state for part of the cost of the failure to adequately control the nation's borders, and the governor is right to seek every bit of revenue and reimbursement due to the state, to decrease the damage caused by inevitable cuts.

But illegal immigration didn't get California into its budget fix, and full federal payment -- an unlikely prospect -- wouldn't get us out. Playing to the anti-immigrant chorus, even in a quest for federal money, undermines the message every Californian must hear: We cannot currently pay for those programs that we consistently list as our top priorities, including first-rate education, transportation and public safety, and it's not because of the size of the undocumented population. It's because of our appetite for services, the structure of our tax system and the dysfunction of our government.

Schwarzenegger knows that. But he often has difficulty delivering the message. He wanders, in statement and in policy, between leading and scapegoating. He has been an outstanding spokesman in the fight to combat greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, dueling with the deniers on the weekend talk shows and touting California's policy progress around the globe. He has compelled the state to grapple with its lagging infrastructure program and has kept the state's future viable with programs to update our road and water systems. But perhaps because his career has put him so directly in touch with the popular imagination, he also gives voice to the common wisdom of the day -- even if that wisdom is wrong, as it is when it assigns the state's troubles to public workers, welfare recipients and illegal immigrants.

The recession has ended on paper, but California faces several years of digging out. We're more likely to dig out faster, and more successfully, if we focus on the structural problems that got us in trouble instead of playing the more comforting, but less productive, blame game.
http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-ed-schwarzenegger23-2009dec23,0,4908404.story

Twoller
12-23-2009, 09:14 PM
....

It's probably true, as Schwarzenegger said Sunday on "State of the Union" on CNN, that California pays "approximately a billion dollars for the incarceration of undocumented immigrants" and gets only $100 million in return. The federal government does indeed have an obligation to reimburse the state for part of the cost of the failure to adequately control the nation's borders, and the governor is right to seek every bit of revenue and reimbursement due to the state, to decrease the damage caused by inevitable cuts.

But illegal immigration didn't get California into its budget fix, and full federal payment -- an unlikely prospect -- wouldn't get us out. Playing to the anti-immigrant chorus, even in a quest for federal money, undermines the message every Californian must hear: We cannot currently pay for those programs that we consistently list as our top priorities, including first-rate education, transportation and public safety, and it's not because of the size of the undocumented population. It's because of our appetite for services, the structure of our tax system and the dysfunction of our government.

....

We've heard this before at this very forum. "It's because of our appetite for services, the structure of our tax system and the dysfunction of our government." But what about the appetite of illegal immigrants for our "services"? What about the unwillingness of our government to police illegal immigration at all? That's not dysfunctional? People argue for illegal immigration because they pay taxes. What part of the structure of out tax system allows illegals to pay taxes?

Exclude illegal immigrants and all of their offspring from "services", including education. Unleash and fund state and local law enforcement against the simple presence of illegal immigrants. Purge illegal immigrants from labor in California. Do all this and out economy and government will be on its way to sorting itself out.

Jeanfromfillmore
12-23-2009, 11:45 PM
This persons opinion surely doesn't deal with hard numbers and facts. What they often use is partial truths to hide the reality of the situation.