Once again, California is on the cutting edge of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. Whenever Californians think we've seen it all—as we did with the California Dream Act that provides aliens with instate tuition despite the state’s ever-deepening deficit and soaring education costs— legislators always have another subversive trick up their sleeves.
In January, Assemblyman Manuel Perez (D-Coachella) introduced the California Agricultural Jobs and Industry Stabilization Program (AB 1544) that would grant legal work and residency permits to aliens in agriculture or service industries even though unemployed Americans could and would fill those job vacancies especially in hotels and restaurants.
California’s illegal alien population, many of them workers, is estimated to be about 3 million. Perez, who represents a border region and is the son of Mexican migrant workers, also wants permits issued to aliens’ family members
Perez, in an argument familiar to all of us, argues that California can’t wait for Congress to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” and that his bill would “regularize” the ag work force, provide “a humane” system to insure that aliens will not be deported and therefore not “torn apart” from their families.
Two AB 1544 provisions are worth noting. First, the alien must demonstrate that he is making an effort to learn English and, second, that he has been in California for at least 150 days. On item one, as a retired California English as a second language instructor, I can confirm that a simple registration form [free to anyone who shows up to enroll] without proof of attendance is all that would be required. Regarding item two, residency proof can be easily forged and its legitimacy is, ultimately, dependent on who evaluates the documentation. [California Bill Would Give Work Permits to the Undocumented, by Anna Almendrada, Huffington Post, May 14, 2012]
Last month, the California Assembly Labor and Employment Committee voted 4-1 in favor AB 1544.
Nearly 20 years have passed since 1994 when California voters approved Proposition 187 that, before Gray Davis and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund colluded to have it thrown it out, would have denied aliens certain benefits and social services. The exact Prop 187 language that voters approved by a 59-41 margin:
“The People of California find and declare as follows: That they have suffered and are suffering economic hardship caused by the presence of illegal aliens in this state. That they have suffered and are suffering personal injury and damage caused by the criminal conduct of illegal aliens in this state. That they have a right to the protection of their government from any person or persons entering this country unlawfully.”
During the ensuing two decades, other states like Arizona, Alabama and Georgia that struggled with illegal immigrations’ costs followed California’s example and wrote legislation to enforce immigration laws. California, in the meantime, struggles on, fighting the same battles it waged in the years leading up to Prop 187.
The good news is that since Perez’s bill requires a federal waiver, it’s unlikely to go far. Similar legislation passed in Utah and Oklahoma died because neither state could obtain the Department of Homeland Security waiver.