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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update

California Snake Oil

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Here in my home state, the budget is over $25 billion in the red. One group is trying to find someone to blame, but not the Governor nor the legislature who got us into this mess. It's far easier to pick on a group with little or no political power.

This group consists of "undocumented workers" or "illegal aliens", take your pick, or to be more precise, their U.S. citizen children.

The plan is to put a proposition on the California ballot which, if passed, would cut off welfare payments to these children. Will this solve the budget crisis?* Hardly, since the cuts would be less than 4% of the budget deficit. Would such a move be challenged in court? Certainly. There is no getting around the fact that under the 14th amendment to the Constitution, these children are U.S. citizens and cannot have their legal rights abridged, no matter what the status of their parents. Will it make a lot of voters enraged against "Mexicans" and "wetbacks"? But of course...

History tends to repeat itself, and this is no exception. Back in 1994, a bunch of zealots put anti-immigrant Proposition 187 on the ballot. The proposition would have cut health, welfare and educational benefits for illegals and, in some cases, for their U.S. citizen children. Sound familiar?

I wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about Proposition 187, warning that the ballot initiative was clearly unconstitutional. The proponents of 187 dubbed it "SOS", short for "Save Our State". My article was entitled "Snake Oil Salesmen".

Proposition 187 was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters. Republican Governor Pete Wilson endorsed the proposition and went on to win the election.

Did Proposition 187 accomplish its stated goals? Hardly. The Courts declared the proposition unconstitutional. What's more, the campaign jolted the state's large Hispanic population into action. Millions of immigrants naturalized as American citizens and registered to vote. The Republican presence in the California State Legislature shrunk to about one-third.

Hopefully, the latest attempt to demonize immigrants from Mexico and their U.S. citizen children will fail at the ballot box. In any case, it will be a colossal waste of time and money since U.S. citizens cannot legally be deprived of benefits due to the immigration status of their parents.

One can only hope that the comprehensive immigration reform bill supported by the Obama Administration will pass Congress and be signed into law this fall. Let's get every worker in this country on the tax rolls, and handle this matter in an intelligent fashion.

We link to the latest legislative proposals from our "Immigration Legislation" page at

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Updated 12-02-2013 at 04:10 PM by CShusterman


  1. PhilSlaton's Avatar
    Hi Carl.

    My first marriage was to a woman whose white, Irish immigrant forefathers had stolen their farm ground from Mexicans in the land grab after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. They used the usual property tax levy, tax lien, tax sale method, paying off the country Sheriff that brokered the land sales. I first said "Hello and congratulations to you back then in 1994 after your snake oil op ed piece in the LA fish wrapper.

    Anyway, her family of merry Southern California coastal farmers, who had made and maintained their wealth on the backs of cheap brown labor, of course thought that Prop 187 and Pete Wilson were the berries. Being white, Catholic, Republican, Irish immigrant stock, they were all for hobbling another less well placed immigrant group.

    I recall her Mother's words well at a meeting on the subject that I attended. I was leaning against a back wall since I was not welcome at the table. She said, in response to some question, "We are immigrant stock also and we have taken very good care of OUR Mexicans. It is time for them to stand on their own feet as we have always done." She was that obtuse.
  2. halibut's Avatar
    So when do we hold these 'immigrants' (more precisely "illegal aliens") responsible for their actions? They came illegally and had a child; placing their child in jeopardy. Now they expect the citizens to pay for their irresponsibility. True enough, this will not solve the state's budget crisis, but it's a start. It will also go a long way in discouraging this irresponsible behavior in the future.
  3. Truth's Avatar
    TO ALL YOU LOSERS, Who blame the poor Undocumented migrants, What have you done SPECIFICALLY FOR US CITIZENS? Besides blame your lousy unsuccessful life and misery on the poor that come to work our fields grow our food, mow our lawn, clean our homes and offices? Have you done or doing any of these Jobs?

    The poor migrants did not bring calamity on our Economy, its WALL STREET AND MORONS LIKE YOU WHO BELIEVED THEM. How many Undocumented Immigrants worked for FORD, GM, CHRYSLER, THE BANKS, WALL STREET, WHIRLPOOL, MAYTAG, IBM, DELL, Etc Etc... NOT ONE. GET IT??

    Now go to the mirror and SLAP HARD the person you see in the mirror for your FAILURES.GOOD.

    If you truly want to succeed get Dr Napoleon Hills book, Think & Grow Rich, and Dr Joseph Murphy Book, Think Yourself to Health Wealth & Happiness.GOOD LUCK.
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