Listening to the two Californian republicans vying for the governor’s seat speak about immigration is so disappointing.
Whitman is against any kind of amnesty for immigrants. Does she plan to send California’s 2 million undocumented immigrants back to their countries? In the words of Obama, ‘That’s not workable.’ So in the shadows they stay.
Poizner is even more extreme. He wants to eliminate the “magnets” that attract undocumented immigrants here. For that reason, he wants to cancel all kinds of social benefits, including health care and access to public education. In other words, revive proposition 187 which was approved by 74% of the voters in 1994, but was later found unconstitutional by a federal court.
Poizner added that legal immigration has been wonderful for this country. I wonder if he knows that many legal immigrants were once undocumented. I wonder if he is aware that he is offending the parents and grandparents of voters.
How do Millionaires Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner expect to win the general election in a state where Latinos account for more than 36% of the population, and conservative voters represent only a small segment of the electorate?
Somebody should let these republican candidates know that 95% of all the farm workers in California are undocumented, according to the UFW, the powerful union created by Cesar Chavez. I remember former governor Gray Davis talking about a farmer who got rid of all of the undocumented workers. The farmer put out an ad and hired about 100 white workers. Three days later, all of them had gone. Of course, there should be stricter border control, but there should also be a path to legalization for all those people who have been here for years and decades. Farmers and businessmen should be able to legally employ foreign workers; farmers need them; our economy needs them.
There’s a myth that migrants use social services, but don’t pay taxes. In fact, migrants pay taxes on what they spend. Those who use fake social security numbers to work, are subsidizing our weakening social security system without getting a penny back in their old age. In 2004, they paid 7 billion dollars in taxes, according to an analysis provided by the SSS.
It is true that undocumented immigrants have violated laws when they crossed the border without a visa, but this situation cannot be fixed by attacking the weak link in the chain. After all, there are millions of Americans who hired them. There are hundreds of politicians who could do more to fix this but who haven’t done anything.
The only crime that undocumented immigrant have committed is fleeing from hunger and tremendous poverty. They work very hard here to feed their families. Through my journalistic job, I have felt their desperation, fear, anguish, sense of powerlessness and profound sadness over deportation. Living in the shadows is the same as living in an inferno.
And Mr.Poizner: they do not come here to get social services. They go to the emergency room in extreme health situations, after years of working for an American employer who does not provide them with health coverage.
Whitman and Poizner are blaming undocumented immigrants, people who can’t defend themselves, on California’s problems in order to win the election, which makes me feel grateful that Immigration is a federal issue.
Still, their rhetoric can inflict damage.
Editor: Maria Ginsbourg.