SANTA BARBARA (August 22, 2014) — In spite of the dire needs of the state of California, Governor Brown has announced legislation to spend millions of dollars providing legal services to minors arriving in California from Central America. Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and state legislative leaders support giving three million dollars of state funds to outside groups to prevent the deportation of those who have arrived illegally from Central America.
Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) believes the program is severely misguided, depriving poor Californians of needed assistance, and encouraging an influx that will further strain the state’s limited resources. According to the Census Bureau, California has the highest rate of poverty in the nation, with nearly 9 million people living in poverty. Its unemployment rate of 7.4 percent is the sixth highest in the country.
“This legislation is a lose-lose-lose proposition,” said Jo Wideman, executive director of CAPS. “First, it takes money away from projects needed by California, including spending on our own poor and unemployed. Second, to the extent that it succeeds in keeping illegal entrants from being deported, it commits the state to further impoverishment, spending billions of dollars in future years for education, medical care, and law enforcement.”
“Finally, and ironically, it imperils Central American children by enticing and encouraging them to make the dangerous, perilous trip to the United States. The children are much more likely to be victims of violence during this journey than if they remained in their home countries. Coyotes are already telling central American families that California will pay for lawyers to help them stay in America after they illegally cross the border.”
Homicide rates are dreadfully high in parts of Central America, but have been decreasing in recent years. The 50 cities with the highest homicide rates in the world include five from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, but they also include 27 from Columbia, Venezuela, and Brazil. The evidence indicates that the border surge of Central Americans arriving illegally was precipitated by president Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the perception it created that the U.S. would not enforce its immigration laws.
“The homicide rates in Detroit and New Orleans are higher than those in Guatemala and El Salvador, and Oakland, California, is not too far behind. Where are children from those crime-plagued cities supposed to go?” asked Wideman.
“Governor Brown needs to do a much better job of looking after California and Californians before initiating this foreign aid program.