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Illegal immigration funding, policies under the microscope

Friday, July 10, 2009, 12:52 pm |

“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste.  It’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.” — Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s White House Chief of Staff

In the midst of its burgeoning $26.3 BILLION budget deficit, Democrats and Republicans agree it’s a crisis but disagree on the solution.

Disagreement is good because it means there is hope to cut waste and fraud. Disagreement is also good because it informs the voters who wants to tax and fee them and who doesn’t.

Democrat leaders said California would “go off the cliff” if there wasn’t a budget deal by June 30. But the Republicans wouldn’t cave to the Democrats’ demands for higher taxes, fees, and borrowing. So the majority Democrats now admit California state government won’t run out of money until late August.

This temporary gridlock means slightly better government may be around the corner. Because no spending plan can pass without Republican votes, the need to cut tens of BILLIONS of dollars in waste is a historic opportunity for Republican lawmakers to reform government. That is, if they hold firm and refuse to cave.

The largest areas of waste in state government are obviously the biggest: health and human services (one-third of the state budget), public education (40% of the state budget), and state prisons (more than 10% of the state budget).

Intertwined in all these areas is the high cost of illegal immigration. Those who ignore U.S. sovereignty and border laws are costing California government more than $10 BILLION each year.  The drain is felt in the government school system, the state welfare system, the unemployment insurance fund, jails and prisons, and much more under Health and Human Services.

Schwarzenegger is proposing limiting welfare and nonemergency healthcare for illegal aliens and their families. But, as  expected, the pro-illegal immigration Democratic majority in the California Legislature has rejected his plans.

According the Los Angeles Times, “One of the governor’s proposals would place a five-year limit on state welfare payments to the U.S.-citizen children of illegal immigrants. That would affect approximately 100,000 U.S.-born children in about 48,000 California households headed by illegal immigrants, who receive a monthly average of $472. The measure could save $77 million annually, according to the governor’s office.

Under another proposal, the governor could commute the sentences of some illegal immigrant felons in state prisons and shift them to federal detention centers. It costs the state $48,000 to incarcerate a prisoner, and the federal government reimburses about 12 cents on the dollar, according to state finance officials. The administration estimates that commuting sentences of 8,500 felons, along with other sentencing changes, could save $182 million, although other state analysts question that.

Meanwhile, there are two citizen-led initiative efforts underway to address the illegal immigration problem:

Gathering signatures right now is the California Taxpayer Protection Act, which would roll back much of California’s government subsidization of illegal immigrants. The effort is being led by former state Senator Bill Morrow and former U.S. Attorney Peter Nunez.

The initiative would end 18 years of welfare payments to illegal aliens with U.S. born children; require all those who are not citizens or permanent legal residents to submit ID documents, provided to Homeland Security, before receiving a birth certificate; allow only citizens and permanent legal residents eligibility for all public benefits including non-emergency and pre-natal care; and allows Homeland Security to review approved applications for federal, state or local benefits that illegal aliens are permitted to receive due to a U.S. born child.

Another proposed ballot measure gathering signatures right now targets illegal voting, whether it’s committed by citizens or non-citizens.

The VoteSafeNow campaign is led by state Senator George Runner. According to VoteSafeNow, the initiative would “protect the integrity of all votes by verifying voters’ identity,” “ensure our brave military men and women have their votes counted,” and “require election officials to verify absentee ballot voters’ signatures and identification.”


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