Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2005 / 13 Adar I, 5765
To Huckabee's mind, anyone who supports such a law has succumbed to
"race-baiting and demagoguery." That would include yours truly. It also
would include a majority of my fellow California residents.
Indeed, in 1994, nearly 60 percent of voters in the Golden State
approved a ballot measure that denied state benefits to illegal aliens.
Proposition 187 even mustered a third of the state's Latino vote.
Meanwhile, Arizona voters approved a similar measure by a comparable
margin of victory last November. And Proposition 200 won the support of
roughly 40 percent of the Grand Canyon State's Mexican-American voters.
The passage of Propositions 187 and 200 doesn't mean that 60 percent of
California and Arizona residents are racists or bigots or xenophobes, as
critics of the measures disparage. It means that they believe in the
rule of law.
They believe that taxpayer-funded benefits should be reserved for
American citizens and for legal residents, and not for those who steal
into the country, who thumb their noses at this nation's immigration laws.
The irony is that those, like Huckabee, who argue against denying
benefits to illegals, are the same folks who argue that illegals come
here simply to work, to earn a living here in the Land of Opportunity.
Well, if that is so, why do they need government benefits? It's bad
enough that government officials, like Huckabee, knowingly and willingly
countenance illegal immigration. It's worse that they also want to
reward those who have stolen into the country. They want to give them
driver's licenses. They want to give them taxpayer-subsidized college
tuition. Heck, in San Francisco, they want to give illegals the right to
Illegal immigrant apologists argue that they are law-abiding folk but
for violating this nation's borders, but for breaking this nation's
But that's not entirely the case, as Heather McDonald documented a year
ago in an article published in City Journal. In Los Angeles, she found,
95 percent of all outstanding murder warrants involved suspected illegal
aliens. And up to two-thirds of all felony warrants were for
But illegals do the jobs "Americans won't do," claim their defenders,
including Gov. Huckabee and President Bush, both of whom happen to be
That's just a myth, as I've noted in previous writings.
The fact is, before the two great waves of illegal immigration in the
1980s and 1990s, there were more than enough Americans performing the
low-skilled and semi-skilled work needed by farms and orchards,
factories and construction sites, restaurants and hotels, car washes and
And there still are many lower-skilled Americans available to work for
such employers, including the 10 million native-born Americans lacking
high school diplomas.
And if that's still not enough low-skilled labor to meet the needs of
the nation's industries, they can recruit workers from the legal
immigrant population. That includes the more than 5 million legal
Mexican immigrants without high school diplomas.
Finally, defenders of illegal immigration say that illegals contribute
more in taxes than they receive in benefits.
That's yet another myth. A study by the Center for Immigration Studies,
a public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., concluded that,
when all taxes are paid and all costs are considered, illegal households
cost the federal government a net $10 billion in 2002.
And when the federal outlay is combined with that of California,
Arizona, Arkansas and other states, the total net cost of illegal
immigration is more than $20 billion a year.
What really irritates in the debate over illegal immigration is the
dishonesty of those who oppose measures like California's Proposition
187, Arizona's Proposition 200 and Arkansas' Taxpayer and Citizen
They suggest that those who support such measures are anti-immigrant;
that they simply do not like people who are brown-skinned (or black or
Well, I, for one, am not anti-immigrant. I say come one, come all. Just