Joe Guzzardi Replies To Eric Stern
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Published on October 24, 2003

Modesto Bee, September 30, 2003

(See The Modesto Bee Says Sorry (Sort Of))

On August 31, the Modesto Bee published Eric Stern's story about me titled "Candidate draws fire on Immigration Stand."

Although Stern interviewed me for two hours, he missed—perhaps purposely—why I chose to run.

Simply stated, my immigration "stand" is that it is time for California's politicians to talk about illegal immigration's impact openly and honestly. To ignore illegal immigration by pretending that it doesn't exist is politics at its most venal.

But heads obviously remain in the sand. On September 24th, the California Broadcasters Association debate allowed the five leading candidates two minutes to summarize the most pressing problems facing California. Not one mentioned how California can continue to absorb thousands of illegal immigrants annually.

Here is my bottom line: California must curb illegal immigration immediately. Others disagree. So let's at least talk about it and pledge to keep an open mind.

The Modesto Bee had a chance to move the illegal immigration debate forward. But Stern's first paragraph falsely suggested that I am a poster boy for White Nationalists.

One of the basic journalism rules is to not compromise your subjects. But through the very dubious technique of using Internet postings as character references, my position was immediately marginalized.

What I told Stern repeatedly is that unchecked illegal immigration harms everyone. People who enter the US illegally need one of two things: a job or social services. But California is plain out of jobs and we're broke.

Journalists aren't too bothered about losing their livelihood to illegal aliens. But construction workers are. Do we want to live in a California where every day someone comes into our state who is willing work for 30% less than the prevailing wage?

Stagnant wages and job displacement proves that immigration is an emotional and complex subject. But that doesn't mean that mainstream politicians should avoid it. And it absolutely doesn't mean that recall candidates who dare to bring it up should be demeaned.

In my recent review of the leading candidate's websites, none have a position on illegal immigration. Some have commented on SB 60, the bill that will give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. But I didn't see any plan for the future. Is the status quo to remain forever?

California cannot remain a worldwide magnet for illegal aliens. Among the solutions I propose is to enforce employer sanctions that will impose heavy fines on businesses that hire illegal immigrants. As the employment market for unauthorized workers dries up, then eventually California will become a less desirable destination. And unemployed Americans will get back to work.

What is sadly lacking in Sacramento is the political will to do anything about illegal immigration.

California needs a plan. The recall election provides an opportunity for real leadership on a tough issue. Who will step up to the plate?

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