What To Do About Immigration
Despite overwhelming opposition from the media, from leaders of the religious and civil-rights communities, from the education establishment, and even from prominent conservatives like Jack Kemp and William J. Bennett, California voters last fall enthusiastically adopted Proposition 187, which bars illegal aliens from receiving welfare, education, or health benefits except for emergency medical treatment.
The anger toward illegal immigrants had grown steadily among Californians in recent years, fueled both by the huge number of illegal aliens living in the state—nearly two million, or about half of the country’s entire illegal population—and by the state’s lingering economic recession. And the resentment had deepened as the apparent costs of providing benefits to illegal aliens rose; for the fiscal year 1994-95, that figure is estimated to stand at $2.35 billion. California, moreover, had gone far beyond what was required by federal law in granting benefits to illegal aliens, including in-state tuition in the Cal-State University system and free prenatal care.
About the Author
Linda Chavez, the author of An Unlikely Conservative (2002) and other books, is the chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity. She last appeared in Commentary with “The Realities of Immigration” (July-August 2006).