October 01, 2003
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From: Ryan Kennedy, email@example.com -Anchorage, Alaska
So Arianna (formerly Stassinopoulos) Huffington has dropped out of the California gubernatorial race. Just as well. Recently, I watched her in the California recall debate scolding Arnold Schwarzenegger for his voting yes on Prop. 187, which would have excluded illegal immigrants from receiving welfare, and also for having Pete Wilson as his campaign chairman.
Her opening statements from the 1995 Firing Line debate on immigration:
"I want to begin by addressing the apparent irony of somebody with my clear immigrant accent being on this side of the debate. I arrived in this country 15 years before the 1965 Immigration Act and became a citizen in 1990, and what really changed my mind was what happened to me in the last year when I traveled around Calif. and talked, not to former mayors and to college presidents and to think tank heads, but to real Americans who are being affected by the – [laughter] [applause] Americans who are being affected by the high numbers of legal and illegal immigration. I remember talking to a couple, a black couple near San Diego, they're making together less than $30,000 a year, and they are wondering why should their hard earned taxpayer dollars go to pay for illegal immigrants on welfare? So what dawned on me was that America into which the immigrants arrive today is a very different America than the America of the past. The last 30 years of bankrupt welfare policies, the tragedy of bilingual education and multi-cultural experiments, have turned America into a nation in crisis incapable of absorbing and assimilating high numbers of immigrants wherever they come from. My problem is not where they come from, Peter, whether they're white or black or Asian. My problem is that the explosive mixture today is the welfare society together with high levels of immigration, and what am I arguing here tonight is that until we dismantle the welfare state, until we dismantle bilingual education, until we dismantle multi-cultural experiments, we need to drastically reduce the high levels of immigration."
And later in the debate she also seemed to imply that Prop. 187 was a good thing:
"But he [Ira Glasser of the American Civil Liberties Union] said that all this talk about immigration is pandering to American's most primitive fears. Now this is the kind of condescending statement that the American people are tired of, and when you question Mr. Stein's [of FAIR] numbers, every poll, every poll taken shows two-thirds of the American people in favor of reducing illegal immigration, and it is indeed illegal immigration—look at the results of proposition 187. Four million people, and a half, voted in favor."
"I'd really like you to answer that question, because it's really at the heart of this debate. Are you saying that America is not different after the Great Society efforts of the last 30 years? The fact that they can come here, and whether they succeed or not, whether they can make a living or not, they can stay on welfare. This is what drives the Americans nuts. Your side may not like that—Mayor Koch, you called them a mob. Somebody else here said that it's just poll numbers that we don't believe in. Look at the fact that 187 won by 4 million 700,000 Americans voting against illegal immigrants being on welfare and receiving free education and free health."
Arianna Huffington: walking proof we need to rein in immigration.
Peter Brimelow writes: Ah, I remember that debate! Incredible as it seems now, I missed the birth of my daughter, Hannah Claire, to take part. Everyone on both teams congratulated me when the news came, except Ira Glasser, who pointedly stared off into the distance. Arianna with her famous charm, even sent a baby present.
This did not prevent her from running away from me when we were subsequently attacked by Ira Glasser and Abe Rosenthal in the New York Times – a literal case, as friends pointed out gleefully, of the need to beware of Greeks bearing gifts. But, hey, she'll come running back.