Assemblyman Tim Donnelly soaring as California immigration hawk

One freshman assemblyman in California who has emerged in recent months as a leading immigration hawk is forcing the state’s legislators to confront a chronic problem.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of California’s 59th district, whom I’ve mentioned before, seems to be a rare voice in the Tea Party movement. That’s because, from its inception, the Tea Party has been primarily focused on the platforms of limited government and restrained spending. Being in California and representing a rather conservative demographic whose concerns aren’t limited to these traditional stances, however, Donnelly has come forward to tackle California’s biggest challenge besides its $26 billion budget deficit.

Since he’s taken office, Donnelly has proposed an Arizona-style law making it a misdemeanor to be in the state without hard copy proof. With AB 26, citizens could sue cities that operate under a sanctuary status and would also require all employers to check the work eligibility of applicants with the E-Verify federal program. In addition, the bill would make it illegal to smuggle children from Mexico. In more recent activity up in Sacramento, he’s come out against the California Dream Act.

While some may want to label Donnelly’s efforts as being racially motivated given his former involvement in the Minutemen, the assemblyman has made it clear in the past that there is a difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration. Furthermore, he’s on record as recognizing the important role that legal minorities like Latinos can play in elections, tactfully pointing out that not all Latinos are in favor of illegal immigration.  He also stated that the” fundamental human yearning for freedom” is not confined to one color.

Questioning the illegal immigration status quo in California is not limited to Donnelly’s leadership in Sacramento, but also has spread to local municipalities in San Bernardino County as early as last year and more concretely this year. Latino and Asian communities, according to the latest Census data, have grown by 50% and 59% in San Bernardino County respectively.

According to the AP, the city of Escondido is joining this string of California cities looking to guard jobs from being taken by illegal immigrants through more stringent employment laws.  It seems as if the tide is turning to some extent as more cities and states are realizing the negative fiscal effect that illegal immigration is having on their local communities.  As witnessed in the Middle East in the past few months, revolutions are contagious. Here in the homeland, there’s a revolution of its own that’s seemingly gaining momentum with states confronting illegal immigration. 

With the nation’s highest illegal immigrant population and a record-breaking deficit, it’s about time that California legislators were forced to answer some tough questions on the subject. Mindful of the political reality, legislation introduced by Donnelly isn’t going very far in a Democratic-controlled state, but proposing these solutions is necessary to spark a much-needed conversation on this crucial topic.