California’s GOP Divided on Immigration

La Opinión, News Report , Pilar Marrero, Translated by Elena Shore Posted: Mar 03, 2010

The two Republicans facing off in California’s gubernatorial primary have begun to express distinct views on an issue that has long been used by GOP candidates to mobilize their base: illegal immigration.

Steve Poizner, the current state insurance commissioner, and Meg Whitman, businesswoman and former president of eBay, both multimillionaires from their success in the corporate world, will be competing for the Republican nomination.

That part of the contest will be resolved in the June primary. The gubernatorial election is in November.

Poizner, who is trailing in the polls after months of an intensive media campaign by Whitman, has been using the subject of the border and “illegals” in recent speeches to appeal to Republican activists across the state.

At a Republican dinner in Yolo County, in Northern California, Poizner tried to distinguish himself from Whitman by saying that "only one of us thinks of the immigration issue as a state issue and not just a federal one. There is a lot we can do here in California."

In another meeting with activists, Poizner said, “One of my key issues will be illegal immigration and stopping it once and for all; if I have to send the National Guard to the border, I’ll do it.”

Poizner has also said publicly that "illegal immigrants are overwhelming our education, health care and public benefits systems.”

Whitman, who for the moment appears to be the party’s favorite, in part because she has launched an intensive media campaign financed by her personal fortune, has taken a more moderate position on immigration, even though her main campaign adviser is former governor Pete Wilson.

Wilson used Proposition 187 and the issue of undocumented immigration to revive his re-election campaign in 1994. Since then, the issue has crept into all of the gubernatorial elections in the state and other parts of the country.

Whitman has said she didn’t vote in those elections but that she would have voted against Prop. 187, the measure promoted by her current campaign advisor, former governor Wilson.

Whitman’s campaign hasn’t provided any details about where she stands on immigration. But last October, the primary candidate visited the border in San Ysidro and said, "It would not be practical to deport illegal immigrants."

During that visit, Whitman also said that she favored a "program in which people would go to the end of the line, pay a fine and do things that would allow for a path to legalization."

More recently, Whitman has stressed that she supports temporary worker programs necessary for certain industries and businesses, and has voiced her opposition to an “amnesty.”

It is clear that Poizner is using the issue to appeal to the right wing of the Republican Party, which tends to be the most active in primary elections.

According to Shaun Bowler, political science professor at UC Riverside, Poizner is using the issue in a desperate attempt to get ahead in the polls.

“They are trailing in money and advertising and they’re getting left behind,” Bowler said of Poizner’s campaign. “Maybe they think this issue could help them in the primary with activists in the party.”

So far it doesn’t seem to be working, according to Jaime Regalado, director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs in California. "For now it doesn’t seem that Whitman needs to move to the right of Poizner. In fact, the party’s conservative base doesn’t consider either a true conservative, so maybe this immigration issue will not be the determining factor," said Regalado.

It is unusual that the issue of immigration has not come to the forefront in the midst of a recession as severe as this one. According to Whittier College professor Eric Lindgren, reports of immigrants returning to their countries could have something to do with this.

“It seems that there’s less pressure around the issue. It’s now obvious that unemployment is not an issue of the undocumented. They aren’t the ones that are taking our jobs away. There aren’t jobs for anyone. The economic issue is going to be very important and immigration, less prominent,” said Lindgren.

The candidates will participate in their first debate on March 15 in Orange County, and experts say the issue of immigration is likely to come up.

Either way, the issue is very fluid. Current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used it in his favor in the 2003 elections, when he launched a campaign to recall then-Gov. Gray Davis, campaigning on the issue of driver’s licenses for undocumented. He also supported Prop.187 at the time.

Later, as governor, Schwarzenegger apologized for supporting 187 and said he considered it a “mistake.” More recently, he affirmed that undocumented immigrants are not to blame for California’s budget problems.

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User Comments

Capt. Nemo on Mar 08, 2010 at 02:01:36 said:

Tell it to my friends. A brick mason, concrete contractor, lawn maintenence and me a carpenter. I have five friends who are professional painters now waiting tables in their forty's. The last job I was on had five painters from Honduras.

What you have in defense is nothing more than lies, damn lies and statistics.

If you can afford a Coyote to get here you can afford a Greyhound home.

Now get out and take your kids with you.

Johnson on Mar 07, 2010 at 22:00:25 said:

Yeah will Griswald our labor market is pretty dynamically shedding jobs right now, but the "foreign workers" are not leaving, that's the big problem with your idiotic plan.

AmericanMike on Mar 07, 2010 at 18:56:57 said:

I think it's time to face the facts that California may be a lost cause. If we can't get Americans like Whitman or the federal government to take a stand favorable to the citizens of the state and the country in respects to illegal foreign nationals, then there is no recourse other than to allow the state to sucede out of the United States and back to Mexico. As a 4th generation American, I may move to Canada, if they will take me.

Truth on Mar 05, 2010 at 06:29:38 said:


Truth on Mar 05, 2010 at 06:27:33 said:

Daniel Griswold: Immigration law should reflect our dynamic labor market

Daniel Griswold is director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington. His writings on immigration can be found at www.freetrade(DOT)org; e-mail him at dgriswold@cato(DOT)org.

Daniel Griswold, Director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies, says he believes that the key to immigration reform is a guest worker policy. He also explains that the competition between U.S. citizens and immigrants over low skilled, low paying jobs will not escalate since the number of U.S. citizens with a high school diplomas is rising. This means that the pool of native citizens who work as low skill laborers will become smaller

Before balming the Undocumented Immigrants consider two thoughts:

One, if low-skilled, illegal immigration is the single greatest cause of California’s woes, how does the author explain the relative success of Texas? As a survey in the July 11 issue of The Economist magazine explained, smaller-government Texas has avoided many of the problems of California while outperforming most of the rest of the country in job creation and economic growth. And Texas has managed to do this with an illegal immigrant population that rivals California’s as a share of its population.

Two, low-skilled immigrants actually enhance the human capital of native-born Americans by allowing us to move up the occupational ladder to jobs that are more productive and better paying. In a new study from the Cato Institute, titled “Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform,” this phenomenon is called the “occupational mix effect” and it translates into tens of billions of dollars of benefits to U.S. households.

Our new study, authored by economists Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer, found that legalization of low-skilled immigration would boost the incomes of American households by $180 billion, while further restricting such immigration would reduce the incomes of U.S. families by $80 billion.

That is a quarter of a trillion dollar difference between following the policy advice of National Review and that of the Cato Institute. Last time I checked, that is still real money, even in Washington.

Among its many virtues, America is a nation where laws are generally reasonable, respected and impartially enforced. A glaring exception is immigration.

Today an estimated 12 million people live in the U.S. without authorization, 1.6 million in Texas alone, and that number grows every year. Many Americans understandably want the rule of law restored to a system where law-breaking has become the norm.

The fundamental choice before us is whether we redouble our efforts to enforce existing immigration law, whatever the cost, or whether we change the law to match the reality of a dynamic society and labor market.

Low-skilled immigrants cross the Mexican border illegally or overstay their visas for a simple reason: There are jobs waiting here for them to fill, especially in Texas and other, faster growing states. Each year our economy creates hundreds of thousands of net new jobs – in such sectors as retail, cleaning, food preparation, construction and tourism – that require only short-term, on-the-job training.

At the same time, the supply of Americans who have traditionally filled many of those jobs – those without a high school diploma – continues to shrink. Their numbers have declined by 4.6 million in the past decade, as the typical American worker becomes older and better educated.

Yet our system offers no legal channel for anywhere near a sufficient number of peaceful, hardworking immigrants to legally enter the United States even temporarily to fill this growing gap. The predictable result is illegal immigration

In response, we can spend billions more to beef up border patrols. We can erect hundreds of miles of ugly fence slicing through private property along the Rio Grande. We can raid more discount stores and chicken-processing plants from coast to coast. We can require all Americans to carry a national ID card and seek approval from a government computer before starting a new job.

Or we can change our immigration law to more closely conform to how millions of normal people actually live.

Crossing an international border to support your family and pursue dreams of a better life is not an inherently criminal act like rape or robbery. If it were, then most of us descend from criminals. As the people of Texas know well, the large majority of illegal immigrants are not bad people. They are people who value family, faith and hard work trying to live within a bad system.

When large numbers of otherwise decent people routinely violate a law, the law itself is probably the problem. To argue that illegal immigration is bad merely because it is illegal avoids the threshold question of whether we should prohibit this kind of immigration in the first place.

We've faced this choice on immigration before. In the early 1950s, federal agents were making a million arrests a year along the Mexican border. In response, Congress ramped up enforcement, but it also dramatically increased the number of visas available through the Bracero guest worker program. As a result, apprehensions at the border dropped 95 percent. By changing the law, we transformed an illegal inflow of workers into a legal flow.

For those workers already in the United States illegally, we can avoid "amnesty" and still offer a pathway out of the underground economy. Newly legalized workers can be assessed fines and back taxes and serve probation befitting the misdemeanor they've committed. They can be required to take their place at the back of the line should they eventually apply for permanent residency.

The fatal flaw of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act was not that it offered legal status to workers already here but that it made no provision for future workers to enter legally.

Immigration is not the only area of American life where a misguided law has collided with reality. In the 1920s and '30s, Prohibition turned millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans into lawbreakers and spawned an underworld of moon-shining, boot-legging and related criminal activity. (Sound familiar?) We eventually made the right choice to tax and regulate alcohol rather than prohibit it.

In the 19th century, America's frontier was settled largely by illegal squatters. In his influential book on property rights, The Mystery of Capital, economist Hernando de Soto describes how these so-called extralegals began to farm, mine and otherwise improve land to which they did not have strict legal title. After failed attempts by the authorities to destroy their cabins and evict them, federal and state officials finally recognized reality, changed the laws, declared amnesty and issued legal documents conferring title to the land the settlers had improved.

As Mr. de Soto wisely concluded: "The law must be compatible with how people actually arrange their lives." That must be a guiding principle when Congress returns to the important task of fixing our immigration laws.

Daniel Griswold is director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington. His writings on immigration can be found at; e-mail him at

Truth on Mar 05, 2010 at 06:26:38 said:

US economy largely unaffected by illegal immigration

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 12.03.2009

WASHINGTON — A study released Wednesday concludes that illegal-immigrant workers do not drain jobs or tax dollars and have a neutral impact on the U.S. economy.
Because illegal immigrants occupy a small share of the work force — about 5 percent — and work low-skilled jobs at lower wages than other workers, their overall influence on the economy is trivial, according to the report, sponsored by the Migration Policy Institute, a pro-immigration think tank in Washington.
\\\"The fate of the U.S. economy does not rest on what we do on illegal immigration,\\\" said Gordon H. Hanson, author of the report and economics professor at the University of California-San Diego.
Illegal immigrants contribute a tiny 0.03 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, with that gain going to employers who save money on cheap labor, the report says, while their cost to the economy is 0.10 percent of GDP, which mainly comes from public education and publicly funded emergency health care.
The net impact at minus 0.07 percent of GDP means that illegal immigrants have an essentially neutral effect on the economy, Hanson said.
The report does not factor in the spending or entrepreneurship that illegal immigrants contribute to the economy, said Marc Rosenblum, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.
Where illegal immigrants do have a substantial impact, Hanson added, is in specific labor-intensive and low-skilled industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality and cleaning services, where the share of native-born workers has dropped precipitously.
Because the U.S. has dramatically raised the education level of its adult population in the last 50 years — going from about 50 percent of all working-age adults without a high school diploma in 1960 to just 8 percent today — the native-born, low-skilled work force has shrunk, while employers continue to require low-skilled workers.
This leaves room for illegal immigrants to take such jobs at a low cost, the report says.
Illegal immigrants now account for 20 percent of working-age adults in the U.S. who don\\\'t have a high school degree.
While the influx of illegal immigrants is one of the factors keeping low-skilled wages stagnant, the biggest losers in the current system are legal low-wage workers, both native and foreign born, who compete with the illegal immigrants, Rosenblum said.
Meanwhile, employers reap higher profits because of lower labor costs and more productive businesses.
The solution to this imbalance, proposed by the Migration Policy Institute, is to provide more visas and legal channels for unskilled workers to enter the U.S.
Today, low-skilled workers must have a green card — effectively requiring them to have close family members in the U.S. — or obtain a temporary work visa.
\\\"We really need to approach migration control comprehensively by both strengthening enforcements and creating legalization mechanisms that will control the unauthorized population and improve the economic outputs that we get from immigration,\\\" Rosenblum said.

Dave Francis on Mar 03, 2010 at 17:48:51 said:

Steve Poizner, just filed his intention to be Governor and is the perfect candidate to bring California out of the financial doldrums, because he is a anti-illegal immigrant. He has also stated he will cut of all public subsidies to illegal immigrants, which could help stop the draining of the states treasuries of--BILLIONS--of dollars.

If you want to learn more how laws are being undermined by corruption in Washington go to NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIALWATCH, IMMIGRATIONBUZZ, RIGHTSIDENEWS & DIRECTORBLUE. Or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 for a more direct approach.

l00ker on Mar 03, 2010 at 10:28:33 said:

...In another meeting with activists, Poizner said, “One of my key issues will be illegal immigration and stopping it once and for all; if I have to send the National Guard to the border, I’ll do it.”

Poizner has also said publicly that "illegal immigrants are overwhelming our education, health care and public benefits systems.”...

...this candidate should get the independent and conservative...

Utilitarian on Mar 03, 2010 at 09:52:05 said:

Earned Citizenship & Ideal Immigration Reform

1. If you are in the United States and out of status but enter the country with inspection, must show I-94 (Arrival – Departure Record) or other entry documents.

A) 20 years plus stay in the US : you will get a green card immediately.
(must show past Federal Tax for 18 years)
B) 15 years plus stay in the US : you will get a green card after 1 year.
(must show past Federal Tax for 13 years)
C) 10 years plus stay in the US : you will get a green card after 5 years.
(must show past Federal Tax for 8 years)
D) 5 years plus stay in the US : you will get a green card after 10 years.
(must show past Federal Tax for 3 years)
E) less than 5 years stay in the US : you will get a green card after 12 years.

2. If you are in the United States and out of status but enter the country without inspection, cannot show I-94 (Arrival – Departure Record) or other entry documents.

a) You will be given a special visa to go back to your country and a guaranteed return (within 90 days), and inspection with USCIS.
b) After 12 years you will get a green card.

3. If you are in the United States and out of status but accompanied by your parents before the age of 16.

a) You will be given a special visa to go back to your country and a guaranteed return (within 90 days), and inspection with USCIS.
b) You must have lived continuously in the U.S. for at least 5 years
c) You must either complete 2 years of collage or serve in the military for a minimum of 2 years.
d) You will get a green card after your 26th birthday.

4. You must pay $3000 fee to USCIS regardless of your status to process your application.
5. All applicants must prove their common English language skills within one year after you file your application.
6. Pass a background check with FBI.
7. Barred from any Federal Welfare Program until you get your Green Card.
8. If you are married and have children (under 21) they will be united to you immediately.
9. You must prove each year as a TAX PAYER. Must pay $2000 or more per year FEDERAL TAX. If you pay $5,000 or more FEDERAL TAX, you can expedite your application process by one year. $10,000 or more by two years and $15,000 or more by three years.
10. All applicants will be issued a 5 years Work Authorization Card immediately.
11. You can travel outside the country but cannot stay more than 90 days.
12. After you get your green card, 2 years later you will become a US Citizen.

Gett'nBad on Mar 03, 2010 at 09:26:48 said:

Probelm with Calif. is the illegals work in construction, landscape, vinyards, and houses of the wealthy. The wealth of this state is never going to let go of their cheap labor. They're just going to discuss this subject until gets old and buried. Subject is a waste of time.

MadMommy on Mar 03, 2010 at 08:16:43 said:

This state should take a cue from Alabama. After reviewing the numbers, they decided that illegal immigrants were hurting their state and draining needed funds from their budget so decided to enforce the laws of their state.

The state requires that anyone arrested must prove leal residency or they are deported, not released. If they apply for any social service, they must prove legal residency. if they apply for work, they must prove legal status. Furthermore if an employer shows a pattern of hiring illegal aliens, they lose their business license. Second offense, they are barred from having a business in Alabama forever.

It seems that Alabama cares about it's citizens more than pleasing some Latino political interest. They actually WANT the citizens of Alabama to get the jobs that are available. They want to make sure that public services are given to American citizens and not illegal residents who came here to break our laws.

Makes a lot of sense to me.

Estoban on Mar 03, 2010 at 06:27:06 said:

Either Whitman or Brown will continue the destruction of California. Whitman has already made clear she cares nothing about working Americans.




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