According to the Los Angeles Times, President Obama's recently released budget plan will allocate more than $1 billion to California. Besides going toward healthcare for needy families, funds will also be apportioned to jailing for illegal immigrants convicted of crimes.
Specifically, funding would go toward the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, a program created by way of the Immigrant and Neutrality Act of 1990. The goal of the program is to have funds available for when illegal immigrants are incarcerated in the U.S. prison system.
Past funds for the program have gone toward such costs as correction officer salaries, overtime, medical and mental health services, etc. The move by the administration was met with a mostly welcome tone from the state’s politicians--from Senator Boxer to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Lakewood).
A number of California’s officials, the Times says, have long argued that Californians should not have to pay for the consequences of Washington not properly securing the nation’s borders. To an extent, these California officials are correct. The federal government should be more concerned with protecting the border states from an onslaught of illegal immigration.
Due to its growing illegal immigration problem, the US does indeed need immigration reform legislation that is not legislation in name only. Washington should deal with the growing illegal immigration that’s infecting border states from San Diego, CA to Laredo, Texas because it is their responsibility to provide for the common defense of this nation.
While California is the poster state of the damage that the broken immigration system can cause, it is a scapegoat to say that Washington is to blame for California’s illegal immigration problems. The quick and easy fix of looking to Washington for more funds easily leads down a slippery slope to look to them for other policy solutions (i.e. to look to Washington to bail California out of other problems the state faces--from providing welfare benefits to healthcare).
Fairly recently, Californians witnessed such an entitlement attitude when Governor Schwarzenegger demanded more money from the federal level. California voters ought to be tired of their politicians beating the same drum, always looking for someone to blame for the state’s problems instead of taking responsibility. Voters deserve better than the usual finger-pointing that comes from the traditional two party system.
Californians are in need of candidates who will present fresh policy solutions for issues like immigration. As the 2010 gubernatorial race comes around the bend pretty soon, the state’s citizens need to keep their political senses open for such candidates.
The only question is: Is he or she out there? Or, will California continue down the road of business as usual?