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Guest Contributor
Joe Armendariz

Prop 187 Revisited
Campaign season has begun, but, don't feed the Pander Bears...
[Joe Armendariz] 8/14/03

In the opening salvos of the battle to replace Gray Davis, Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Arnold Schwarzenegger has been coming under fire for his support of Proposition 187 from the Democratic Party's chief Latino racemonger, Art Torres.

As long-time Californians will recall, Proposition 187, which appeared on the ballot in 1994 as the "Save Our State" initiative, would have excluded illegal immigrants from access to public services, including an education for their children. California voters -- including a large percentage of Latinos -- supported Prop 187 and the measure passed overwhelmingly, only to be subsequently overturned in the courts.

Predictably, Torres -- who called Proposition 187 the "last gasp of white America" -- is busily reminding the Latino community that Gray Davis opposed 187, as did Cruz Bustamante. Well, they're not alone. Many, like me, also opposed Prop 187 for reasons having less to do with the merits of the measure than with its politics. The Democrats have tried to use Proposition 187 as a "silver bullet" against Republicans ever since. But that was then and this is now.

Today, illegal immigration is even more out-of-control than it was nine years ago, and the federal government has been ignoring its responsibility to California taxpayers to protect our state's border. Add to this the implications of allowing unrestricted immigration after the tragedy of September 11, and any voter would have to be out of his mind to deny that our country's immigration policy is in desperate need of reform.

But Bustamante, Torres, Davis and the rest of the Democrats are going to continue to wallow in their unadulterated ignorance and try underhanded tactics of racial division. This time, they may not succeed. At the end of the day, Latinos need something more than the politics of racial division -- they need economic empowerment, not welfare benefits. And the parents of Latino children need a genuine choice in where their children are educated, not an open door to a closed academic opportunity, which is what most of the inner city public schools provide.

Finally, consider the bizarre dichotomy embraced by this trio: They support welfare benefits for illegal immigrants, while opposing the creation of new oil and gas jobs for legal residents, including Latinos. They support a system that redistributes taxpayers' money to those who break our laws, but apparently believed that our domestic oil and gas industry should be designated as an illegal, non-conforming enterprise.

Here is the bargain that California Democrats would strike: Come to America illegally, get a check and a free (albeit terrible) education for your kids. But try getting a job on an oil platform and sending your children to a school that actually teaches them? Forget about it. And then we wonder why California, under the control of an intellectually bankrupt Party, is winning the race to the bottom.

Joe Armendariz is Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Industrial Association and the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association.



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