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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

They Really Are Here Illegally
Like we didn't already know...

[Ray Haynes] 3/29/05

The Pew Hispanic Center, a think tank based in Washington D.C. recently came out with a study that can only be listed under the “duh” category. First, it says that there are 11 million people here illegally. That is probably wrong. Earlier studies put the number at closer to 20 million, and since the Pew number is based on census data (data which relies on voluntary responses that even the Democrats blame for undercounting minorities and the poor), the higher number is probably closer to correct.

Pew tells us some things that we already know. Like 55% of those in this country illegally are from Mexico, and those who come from Mexico illegally outnumber those who are here legally by a two to one margin. In addition, about 80 to 85 per cent of those coming from Mexico in recent years are illegal, and the number of illegals in this country has increased by about 25%. The largest portion of those illegals resides here in California.

The question is why? My friends on the left will say that those here illegally “do the jobs American citizens won’t do” like gardening, nanny and maid work, farming, janitorial, and other “low wage” jobs. That may be true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t explain why things are so out of control here in California.

California’s illegal problem is easily explainable, however, when one considers how we treat those who get into our state illegally. All states are required to provide emergency hospital care to people regardless of citizenship. They are also required to provide a free public education to anybody who lives in their state. Attempts to stop these practices with Proposition 187 here in California were ruled unconstitutional by a federal court, keeping those mandates in place. The federal government should be compensating our state for those costs, and for the costs of jailing and imprisoning illegal aliens, but has fallen woefully short of paying for their obligation to us.

But those requirements exist in every state. The reason they stay in California in the greatest numbers is because beyond the huge labor market and large cities to get lost in, they get welfare, free food, free medical care and in-state college tuition that they cannot get in Mexico. Mexico does not have a social welfare system anywhere comparable to that available in California, and if someone can get into this state, that person can get health care and welfare, no questions asked, and send that money home to the family in Mexico. If they can find a job on top of that, then that’s just more money they can send home, but the biggest benefit is given by the state government at taxpayer’s expense. The federal government does not contribute one dime of their tax collections to the state’s effort to subsidize illegal entry into this country, so California taxpayers foot the entire bill. Those taxpayers are justifiably outraged.

This “pay the illegals welfare” program was instituted in 1999. Illegal immigration has expanded dramatically during the years since then, and California has been paying the bill for that dramatic increase. The rest of the country is somewhat shocked by this increase, but they don’t do much, because most states don’t pay a dime to illegals for public services. Only in California do illegals profit so much from their stay here. Meanwhile, police agencies in places like Los Angeles have standing orders NOT to disturb criminals who are also in violation of immigration laws, creating a safe haven for even the worst of our uninvited guests. Arizona took a major step to limit illegal alien spending to only those things mandated by the federal government, a move which will make California even more attractive to those who wish to cross the border illegally.

That makes the illegal problem a California problem, not an employer problem or a “Bush” problem. Until California is willing to say “no welfare for illegals,” illegals will continue to come and stay, and you and I will continue to pay. CRO

Mr. Haynes is a California Assembleyman representing Riverside and Temecula and frequent contributor to


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