2003 August 15 Friday
Lowry: Schwarzenegger Should Run On Immigration Control

Rich Lowry argues that Arnold should fight on the issue of immigration in his campaign for governor of California.

The state's health-care crisis is largely driven by immigrants. There are roughly 7 million people in California without health insurance. About 4 million of them are immigrants or the young children of immigrants.

Half of all welfare usage in the state is from immigrant households, and 32 percent of all illegal-immigrant households receive benefits from at least one welfare program. The average welfare payment -- just counting the four major welfare programs -- to illegal-immigrant households is $1,400 a year.

Half of all kids in the public-school system are from immigrant families, a dramatic increase in the number of kids in schools without a corresponding increase in the tax base. About half of immigrants are too poor to pay any income taxes.

While Proposition 187 to cut off state government spending on illegal aliens passed with over 60% of the vote Governor Gray Davis successfully colluded with Hispanic leaders to gut its implementation. Lowry and others are arguing that Ah-nold should run on a platform to implement it and to employ state police and other law enforcement officials to apply US immigration law to cut back on illegal immigrants. Deporting large numbers of illegal immigrants and keeping more from coming to California would go a long way toward reducing the state budget crisis.

This call from Rich Lowry comes at a time of increasing support on the Right for a dramatic reduction in current levels of immigration. In a Hudson Institute review of Victor Davis Hanson's Mexifornia: A State of Becoming John Fonte discusses the larger trends in the debate on immigration on the US political Right.

One reason for this enthusiasm is that the book has arrived at just the right time. Conservatives are having "second thoughts" on immigration and assimilation policies. During the 1970s and 1980s, when there was broad support for relatively open immigration among conservatives, it was assumed that assimilation into the American mainstream would take care itself. With the publication of a seminal article ("Time to Rethink Immigration") in National Review in June 1992, by a free-market journalist and Forbes contributor named Peter Brimelow, opposition to mass immigration started to build on the right. Under the editorship of John O’Sullivan, National Review was at the center of this first-wave debate that faded in the late ’90s.

During the same period, however, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, it was becoming increasingly clear to many thoughtful conservatives that traditional assimilation was not working. Slowly and almost imperceptibly, leading conservative intellectuals and activists began having "second thoughts" about our de facto mass immigration policy. The events of 9/11 further strengthened the rethinking.

Today, this "second thoughts" group would include, in varying degrees, Californians such as Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, and former leftists David Horowitz and Peter Collier (Collier urged Hanson to write this manuscript in the first place for Encounter Books, his publishing house; City Journal writers such as Myron Magnet and Heather MacDonald; First Things editor Fr. Richard John Neuhaus; American Enterprise editor Karl Zinsmeister; Hudson Institute President Herb London; Nixon Center President Dimitri Simes and center scholar Robert Leiken; academics including Walter McDougall, James Kurth, Fred Lynch, and Samuel Huntington; National Association of Scholars stalwarts such as Carol Iannone, Glynn Custred, Thomas Wood, Gilbert T. Sewall, and Eugene Genovese; journalist Michele Malkin (whose new book on immigration and national security, Invasion, is a best seller); the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru; Claremont Institute scholars Ken Masugi and Tom West; neoconservative professor Fred Siegal; and, since 9/11, the prominent scholar of Islam and presidential appointee, Daniel Pipes. Even the venerable libertarian thinker Milton Friedman has noted that mass immigration and the welfare state don’t mix.

For more on Hanson's book see my previous post Victor Davis Hanson Against Massive Immigration From Mexico

Update: But if it turns out that Arnie says things that make it sound like he will wimp out on immigration remember that Joe Guzzardi is running.

Update II: The editors of Human Events say Proposition 187 to cut welfare spending to illegal aliens should be resurrected.

With the removal of Davis, Prop 187 should be resurrected. The proposition is not only right, it is also indispensable to saving California from financial ruin. In April, for example, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) determined that its un-reimbursed cost for providing non-emergency health care to illegal aliens is now running $340 million per year. That means it will account for more than the aggregate $993 million deficit the DHS is expected to run over the next three years. In 1999, the Rand Corporation calculated that native-born California taxpayers pay an additional $1,200 in state and local taxes each year to subsidize services for immigrants.

As a bonus, Prop 187 is still popular. Despite the demagogic race-baiting campaign to thwart it, evidence suggests that support for Prop 187 has grown. In June 1999, the Los Angeles Times conducted a massive poll of 1,179 registered California voters. Sixty percent said they supported Prop 187, only 35% said they opposed it.

Even more effective would be to build a wall on the entire border of Mexico and then authorize local and state police to arrest and deport illegal aliens. If the illegal aliens were not in the US they would not be able to demand medical treatment and other social welfare benefits.

Update III: David Horowitz makes the case for illegal immigrants as large contributors to California's budget crisis.

The second event is the impending bankruptcy of the state's finances. Illegal immigration is a significant component of this problem, which liberals don’t like to discuss. As a result of the judicial scuttling of Prop 187, big-ticket items like education, health-care and welfare are still available to anyone crossing the border, whether he crosses legally or not. The costs of this generosity to aliens who are here illegally amounts to billions of dollars every year in addition to unpaid taxes which are estimated at $7 billion dollars annually, i.e., almost 20 percent of the budget deficit.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 August 15 03:12 PM  Immigration Border Control


Comments
Arthur said at October 15, 2003 9:46 AM:

As Caleforena goes so goes the nation! Go get'em Ah nold!


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