Personally, I thought the California Border Police Initiative (ACA 20) was a remarkably simple solution to an unruly mess.
According to California State Assemblyman Ray Haynes (R-Temecula), ACA 20 was
"a constitutional amendment designed to create the California Border Police, a state agency whose sole purpose, if we can ever get it formed, would be the comprehensive, uniform, and statewide enforcement of federal immigration law."(Of course, immigration enforcement is supposedly a federal matter, not the responsibility of individual state governments. In practice, however, it is the states, not the feds, who shoulder the bulk of the burden.) But apparently not everyone agreed with me about ACA 20. It has been crushed in California's Judiciary Committee by a 6 to 3 vote. The NOES were
Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) [
Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) [ Email]
Assemblyman John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) [ Email]
Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) [ Email]
Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) [ Email]
Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez (D-San Fernando) [ Email]
Another recent legislative casualty in the same session of the Judiciary Committee: ACA 6, offered by Assemblyman Mark Wyland (R-Vista). According to the legislative digest: "This measure would prohibit the state from issuing any driver's license, state identification card, providing in-state tuition or fees for postsecondary education, granting any voting privileges, or providing any health, social, or other state or local public benefit to any person who is neither a citizen of the United States nor an alien lawfully present in the United States…" And ACA 20 would also have required proof of citizenship to vote—oh, the gall.
This attempt by Mr. Wyland to restrict government benefits for illegal immigrants is the latest of many—and certainly not the last we will see in the California legislature.
But Assemblyman Haynes is taking the border enforcement issue straight to the voters. The California Border Police Initiative has just started circulating petitions to put the measure on the state ballot. They need 600,000 signatures by December 12. I think they can do it
While the Haynes measure creates a new state police force, there is also a bill in the U.S. Congress that seeks to establish a federal civilian police force…or militia.
Just before the recess bell, Congressman John Culberson (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3622: The Border Protection Corps Act.
If enacted, state Governors would have the authority to "deputize" citizens to aid law enforcement in the apprehension of illegal immigrants.
The citizen groups would be known as the Border Protection Corps and operate under the control of the Governor. According to H.R. 3622, the Corps could
"…use any means and any force authorized by State law to prevent individuals from unlawfully entering the United States"
According to Representative Culbertson, the cost will be easily covered by Homeland Security "first-responder" funds that (for some reason) "have been sitting unspent and untouched in the U. S. Treasury for over two years."
"Congress shall have power to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions."
To date, there are 48 co-sponsors of the legislation.
While researching this bill, I read many comments by pro-immigrant and Hispanic rights groups denouncing the Border Corps legislation.
After he expressed disapproval of civilian militias, he wanted to warn lawmakers that supporting this measure "could critically jeopardize the Hispanic vote." [Border Militia Proposal Gets Cool Reception, By Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press, July 29, 2005]
Oh, boo-hoo…I'll start looking into grief therapy now.
But I suppose Rocha's threat is well-timed. The pending 2006 elections bring an assortment of dog and pony shows that cater to the dream of seizing the hefty but untapped (and mythical, read Steve Sailer) Hispanic vote.
But to throw a trump card threat so early in the game: I think I hear a trace of panic in Mr. Rocha's comments.
Whether by ballot measure or civilian patrol, the popular movement against illegal immigration is starting to circumvent the sluggish legislative process that has failed to respond to immigrant invasion.
Nationwide, this growing grass roots rebellion will render useless the politicians on whom special interest groups have come to rely.
Threatening to withhold the Hispanic vote means nothing to citizen volunteers who are motivated by patriotism—not by the prospect of elected office and getting their snouts into the tax trough.
And LULAC et al. know it.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.