California’s immigration story is a bittersweet, heart-palpitating tale incapable of arriving upon any hard-line conclusions. An example of this is that on the one hand, immigrants from India and China are upholding Silicon Valley as our American children refuse to embrace the math and sciences — in essence, they are keeping America competitive. While on the other hand, illegal immigrants weigh an enormous economic burden on states services such as: hospital care, education and prison systems.
I met the international jazz great Pacquito di Rivera at a concert in Washington last year. I asked him if he lived in Miami, where I do half the year (Key Biscayne, minutes outside Miami). No, he said, he lives in North Bergen, N.J. I was stunned: The famous Cuban refugee lives walking distance from where I grew up in the 1930s and ’40s.
Guess what? It is already happening.
Among richer, more secular countries, the birthrate is not at the rate of replacement. Maintaining a steady population requires a birthrate of 2.1 In Western Europe; the birthrate currently stands at 1.5, or 30 percent below replacement.
In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today. The current birthrate in Germany is 1.3. Italy and Spain are even lower, at 1.2. At that rate, the working-age population declines by 30 percent in 20 years, which has a huge impact on the economy.
If you live in a sanctuary city it certainly is. In regard to the police, a sanctuary city is premised on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy.
How does this play out in practice? If an illegal immigrant is arrested, no one will know because immigration status will never come up in the conversation, resulting in the release of dangerous illegal immigrants on the American public. The Shaw family of Los Angeles knows this scenario all too well.
This college tuition issue came to light recently when about three dozen students in California filed a lawsuit against the University of California, charging that it had violated federal law by allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at its campuses while maintaining higher rates for out-of-state students.
While on a nationwide basis violent crime is actually down, in smaller cities it is up by double-digit numbers. For example, in Indianapolis violent crime is up 27 percent, and in Jacksonville it’s up 22 percent. There are many other examples.
I have had a working theory for quite a while that the anger towards illegal immigration is only partially explained by job security. The biggest reason that many Americans dislike illegal immigration is a fear of crime.
The Democrats now sense this and are outbidding the White House on spending for immigration enforcement, with a special emphasis on deporting people convicted of major drug offenses and violent crimes. According to one news report, “A Homeland Security budget bill now moving through the House Appropriations Committee specifies that at least $800 million be spent after Oct. 1 to identify and remove the most violent and dangerous criminals from the U.S.”
This does not, however, mean that state legislatures should issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants believing that it will make our roads safer. Maybe we should take a moment to define illegal. Merriam Webster defines illegal as unlawful/illicit — not morally right or conventional or not according to or authorized by law. If they broke the law to get here, they will more than likely continue to break our laws by driving without insurance, and obtain other benefits using false names.
Throughout weeks of debate, there was a strong undertow of opinion insisting that no legislation was better than bad legislation — the implication was that this was a very bad bill — and presented this view as a challenge to that attributed to a legacy-conscious President Bush, that any immigration reform reaching his desk deserved his signature.
The groundswell against what was regarded as veiled amnesty for illegal immigrants prompted congressional talk of reviving mandatory "fairness" in broadcasting, which some people say is a euphemism for government meddling.
There is a tried and true process that works well and then there is the process used by the Senate in this immigration bill.
The tried and true process starts with committee hearings, followed by committee mark-ups, followed by floor consideration, followed by a conference committee where differences between the House and Senate are worked out.
This process allows the maximum input from the American people and their elected representatives. It allows amendments to be discussed and then voted on. It allows maximum media attention and it allows the members to educate their constituents about both the problems and the proposed solutions.
Here are the winners:
Talk radio: They became relevant again and have a nice pelt on their wall — the president’s.
Big Labor: They killed the bill from the left, but pinned all the blame on conservatives.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.): He became famous.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): She doesn’t have to try to bring this bill up now. She escaped a bullet.