Monday, May 16, 2005
IN MY OPINION (Column)
The California Border Police
By RAY HAYNES
(The writer represents the 66th Assembly District, which includes portions of western Riverside County and northern San Diego County. He is also the Senate Republican whip.)
Talk to anyone and they will tell you that our national borders are out of control. We are either unwilling or unable to enforce immigration laws. The result is billions of dollars in free government services paid to those who break our laws, a flagrant abuse of those laws, and a system that exploits those who try to enter this country illegally.
My first observation about the problem is that I understand the motivation of those who want to come to this country. If I lived in abject poverty in a third world country, I would do whatever it takes, go wherever I had to, and suffer whatever indignity I had to in order to make life better for my family.
The biggest sin of the way this country deals with illegal immigration today is that it is a system of exploitation. Many times good people, looking for a better life, are transported across the border by illegal traffickers, under inhumane conditions, in order to be exploited by people on our side of the border.
Most illegals suffer enormous indignities, to live a life of constant fear, and work in a substandard environment, and the government turns a blind eye to the exploiters on both sides of the border. In fact, the government, in some cases, actually profits from the payment of taxes into the social security system without any obligation to cover the illegal worker paying the tax. And there are plenty of bureaucrats who benefit by the increased personnel and budgets that come from servicing the illegal alien population. In a system that can only be described as institutionalized racism, everyone but the illegal makes a lot of money by ignoring the law. Unfortunately, the federal government chooses not to do the simplest tasks to end this exploitation.
The good news is that the federal government allows state and local government to enforce federal immigration laws, if they choose. Unfortunately, some local governments grant illegals sanctuary in their cities, and other local governments try to add immigration enforcement on to the myriad of enforcement activities they already expect of the line officers. Nowhere in this country is there a state or local agency whose sole function is to enforce federal immigration laws.
California pays a disproportionate share of the cost of illegal immigration. We pay for the health care and education of illegal aliens. We give them welfare and food stamps and get no reimbursement from the federal government. We give them reduced college tuition, and illegal aliens occupy a little over one-fourth of our available prison beds. The cost to the California taxpayer to pay for all these programs is anywhere from $9 to $10 billion. 500,000 new illegals enter our state every year.
So why not enforce federal law? Why not set up a state agency that could enforce these laws throughout the state with trained police personnel in a comprehensive and uniform manner throughout the state? At the border. In the jails. At the street corners where everyone sees them standing every day soliciting under-the-table labor for the day. It is too easy. Why didnít anyone think of it before?
Will it cost too much? It will cost about $200-300 million dollars, but it could save us $5 billion. That is worth the cost. Will it protect us? The public safety danger of not controlling our borders is obvious. The cost of doing nothing is too high.
To do this, I have introduced ACA 20, which would establish the California Border Police agency. There is a simultaneous effort to place this idea on the ballot via the initiative process, which you can learn about at http.//www.calborderpolice.com.
It is a simple idea, and those are usually the ideas that work the best in government. Can government mess it up? Yes, but it is so simple that it will be real hard for politicians to mess it up. It is an idea, however, whose time has come. We can no longer afford to do nothing. We can no longer afford to complain about the federal government failing to act. We can take the steps necessary to solve our own problems, and create a California Border Police. It is just too simple to not do it.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company