Golden State No Longer: A Disaffected Californian’s Thoughts on Escaping from America’s Greece

I recently trekked back to California to visit my family and enjoy some downtime after two months in the District.  I certainly needed some R&R to recharge and relax. (The political arena is a hectic albeit wonderful sphere to be immersed in. I’ve learned that any getaway you get shouldn’t be taken for granted.)  I had the chance to see some friends, visit my extended family, and finally went to  the Ronald Reagan President Library in Simi Valley, CA. It was a much-needed trip!

Now, I’m back in Northern Virginia and ready to resume my job.  I’ve got wonderful Field Representatives working with me, and have connected with many eager and bright students excited to shake things up on their campuses. I’ll be traveling up North soon and will be sure to chronicle each trip I make (when time permitted).

With this recent trip back home, it dawned upon me that I will not be back to CA for a very long time. While I’ll miss my home state, I have no regrets moving to the DC-metro area. Yes, it’s muddled with corruption – but it’s full of life and culture unseen on the West Coast. I will always be a proud yet disaffected Californian, and certainly one for the right reasons. Some will accuse me of betraying my roots for fleeing the state. (Mind you, there are no jobs for young people – or any Californian – given the dismal economic and moral state it is in.) I seized an opportunity to work for a conservative nonprofit – Leadership Institute – and took it.

As a California refugee taking shelter in the Commonwealth, I have some interesting observations about my home state now that I no longer live there. Here are the reasons why I’m happy I left:

- Outstanding, high state government debt: As of August 28, 2012, California’s debt rests at $617 billion – the highest total state debt in the entire country according to State Budget Solutions. Need I say more?

-Democrat-controlled state legislature: Both the State Senate and Assembly are controlled by Democrats who  have ushered in radical and arguably anti-American legislation. For example, legislation includes the multiple parents bill, gay history in K-12, abortion carried out by mid-wives/nurses,  DREAM Act, bans on open carry of handguns, and more.

- Endless call for more taxes: Since the return of Moonbeam (Jerry Brown) as Governor, there are more calls for taxing wealthy individuals in the Golden State. Brown and his allies are pushing Prop. 30 on the November ballot, which would “increase California’s sales tax by one-quarter of a cent for four years. It calls for an increase in state income tax on taxpayers who earn more than $250,000 a year for the next seven years,” according to CBS L.A. AEI president Arthur C. Brooks writes in “The Road to Freedom” that when presenting the moral case for free enterprise, it is important reduce spending, not add more taxes, when solving budget problems.

-Welfare state: Yahoo!  reported in December 2011 that California, the largest welfare state in the U.S., “has one-eighth of the nation’s population but one-third of all welfare recipients.”

-Too much spent on education coupled with corrupt teachers unions: Total expenditures (plus state bonds) for education in Fiscal Year 2012-2013, including K-12 and higher education, totaled 35.7 percent of California’s state budget,  or $39,575,109 for K-12 and $10,050,905 for higher education as of May 2012. Tuition hikes plague the University of California and California State University systems, and administrators continue to receive high salaries. (As someone who recently graduated from a UC school, I see the problem beset in education, much like the state budget, in refusal to gut waste and deny tenure/pensions to professors undeserving of it.) Another problem plaguing education in California is corruption in the California Teachers Association and similar teachers unions, whose bosses and members are too concerned about their salaries and benefits – not the welfare of their students. (California is in great need of school choice legislation. It would diminish teachers unions and dramatically improve education there.) When a sex scandal hit LAUSD last year (think worst school district in the nation), the teachers unions – in true fashion -  refused to address the issue and supported the defeat of a bill that would have tackled it, according to CNN:

While senators overwhelmingly voted in support of Senate Bill 1530, it was met with strong opposition from the powerful California Teachers Association.

The teachers’ union says that Padilla’s bill would have eliminated essential legal protections for teachers and that it believes the current system is an appropriate process.

Additionally, the CTA protects bad teachers thanks to tenure. It is also a big political player in Sacramento.

(There’s a lot to discuss regarding education in California, so I’ll detail it in a future post.)

-Illegal immigration: Illegal immigration has proven to be burdensome to the Golden State. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed the California DREAM Act – AB 130 (private scholarships)and AB 131 (public scholarships). This gave children of illegal immigrants and young illegal immigrants access to tuition regardless of their citizenship. Another crippling move that has emboldened illegal immigration is the DMV’s plan to issue drivers licenses to approximately 400,000 young illegals. Talk about oy vey…

There are many problems facing California – too many to list in a single blog post. It pains me to see my home state falter and become like Greece. I’ll even go so far as to call it a state riddled by Marxist and La Raza interests. Unfortunately, the Golden State must collapse and build anew. Otherwise, I’ll maintain that it is a lost cause.

Although I rag on California often, I will admit this: I’m glad I spent my formative years living there. I learned right from wrong, learned who to trust/who not to trust, enjoyed the beaches and nice weather, got my political start, was surrounded by family, and got to see leftist abuses at work.

“You can take the girl out of California, but you can never take the California out of the girl.”

Legal Immigrants More Dangerous Than Illegal Immigrants? Californians for Population Stabilization Says Yes (Headdesk is in Order)

While watching MSNBC last night, I saw this startling ad from California for Population Stabilization.

The ad reveals that legal immigrants are taking jobs away from Californians…

Illegal immigrants, not legal immigrants, are problematic in this state.

The same people who want amnesty and pardons via the DREAM Act are now calling for the elimination of legal immigrant workers. Pathetic and sick.

As the daughter of LEGAL immigrants to this country, I can say that encouraging more legal immigration, enforcing laws, eliminating dependency/handouts for illegals and their children, plus a whole host of other options, will fix the current problem.

Don’t be duped by Democrats and La Raza.

California DREAM Act Proves Nightmarish for Residents

Cross-posted from Truth About Bills

Recently, Governor Jerry Brown signed part one of California’s DREAM Act into law.

This particular bill, which gives funding to illegal immigrant students, is blatant amnesty. This particular legislation comprises two parts—AB 130 and AB 131. The author of both bills is Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles).

AB 130 grants private scholarships to illegal immigrant students who qualify under this provision. Brown signed the bill into law on July 25, 2011:

This bill would provide that, on and after January 1, 2012, a student attending the California State University, the California Community Colleges, or the University of California who is exempt from paying nonresident tuition under the provision described above would be eligible to receive a scholarship derived from nonstate funds received, for the purpose of scholarships, by the segment at which he or she is a student.

Part two (AB 131) grants public funds to qualifying illegal immigrant students. This provision was passed in the State Senate Appropriations Committee on August 26th, 2011. The legislature has until September 9 to pass it, and Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign the bill into law:

This bill would exempt a student who has attended, for 3 or more years, at least one of which shall have been in a high school, and graduated from, secondary school in California from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges and the California State University.

Interestingly enough, Governor Brown might veto AB131.

Gov. Brown seems to have made his broader philosophical decision on the question of providing support for students who are in the country illegally,” Schnur said. “Now he’s got to decide whether he can afford it. It’s a much more difficult decision than the first one.

Nevertheless, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Hesperia) believes that this bill will further cripple California’s economy.

“AB 131, the second part of the California `DREAM Act,’ is a nightmare for citizens,” Donnelly said. “Students are already struggling to pay increased tuition and many cannot even get into the classes they need, but the Legislature continues to pretend we can afford this entitlement. The simple truth is, everyone including the governor knows we can’t.”

California faces a budget shortfall of 26 billion dollars.  Universities across the Golden State are already facing massive budget cuts.  Rest assured, the California DREAM Act will be a nightmare for taxpayers.

*UPDATE: California State Senate passed its own version of AB 131.

Guest Column: The Immorality of Illegal Immigration

My friend and fellow activist Mike Cunningham wrote about the perils of illegal immigration for a sociology class at Purdue University. I suggest you read it!

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“It simply is not moral[ly]or civically responsible to offer the American Dream to mass numbers of foreigners at the cost of denying it to the most vulnerable of our fellow Americans.”

1. Question:

Is an influx of immigration, especially illegally, a detriment to American society; moreover is it socially unethical, not only to the native born citizens of the United States, but to the migrants, especially?

Relevance to Sociology of Law:

An immigrant’s willingness to work unpopular jobs at lower wages presents a highly unethical master- slave relationship that hinders progress and deteriorates the standard of living for both native citizens and immigrants (legal and illegal). To be clear, the master-slave relationship exploits newcomers’ lack of skill (language barrier, manual labor, etc.) for cheaper production costs which in turn impedes advancement in technology, culture, and civility. Rather than being the “land of opportunity,” the immoral perpetuation of these habits actually cripples the newcomers; tarnishing the moral and economic structure of American society and diminishing the prestige of the “American Dream,” that says if you work hard you can achieve any level of success.

2. Evidence

a. The Immigration Act (The Immigration and Nationality Act) of 1965 abolished national quotas and substituted hemispheric caps with an annual limit from any nation. It also established a category of immigrants not subject to numerical restrictions: immediate relatives (parents, spouses, and children) of U.S. citizens, as well as visa allocations on a first-come-first-served basis (Daniels, 2008). While this act allowed for a wider variety of immigrants, some argue that “the U.S. has imported poverty through immigration policies that permitted and encouraged the entry and residence of millions of low-skill immigrants into the nation (Rector, 2006).” According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), “Out of all the adult immigrants admitted in 2000, 69 percent had no reported profession, occupation, or job at all. Of the immigrants that arrived between 2000 and 2007, 35.5 percent had less than a high school education, and another 24.6 percent had only a high school diploma. Immigrants admitted during 2000-07 trailed natives in rates of attaining college and advanced degrees, as well as a lower share that had attended some college (“Lower wages for,” 2010).”

b. Along with importing poverty, another argument that raises ethical questions involves the standard of living. Statistics provided by FAIR state that in 2007, immigrant children were two times more likely to be in poverty than natural born children (32.1 percent to 17.5 percent). The statistics on immigration and poverty went on to maintain that, compared to children of native born citizens, many immigrant children live in virtually the same environment that their families fled, often living in crowded housing (29 percent versus 7 percent) and paying modest amounts of the family income on rent or mortgage (14 percent versus 6 percent); they are more likely to be uninsured (22 percent versus 10 percent) and have no usual source of health care (14 percent versus 4 percent) (“Immigration and poverty,” 2010). In fact, in an article entitled “Third World Growth-California Style,” if Placer County, who has the same growth rate as third world countries such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Yemen, was a “country” having its 3.5% growth rate, there would be only eight other “countries” in the world with a larger rate of growth (“Third world growth,” 2010). Areas with these extremely high growth rates will struggle to maintain a good quality of life for its inhabitants in ways of infrastructure, resources, and other justifiable means. These statistics beg the question: is it morally right to perpetuate the “stacking” of human beings; furthermore, is it ethical to advertise America as a place to start a new and better life, when it hosts these ever-growing Third World conditions?

c. “The level of immigration is so massive, it’s choking urban schools …It’s bad enough when you have desperate kids with U.S. backgrounds who require massive resources. In come kids with totally different needs, and it creates crushing burdens on urban schools.”-David W. Stewart, author of Immigration and Education: The Crisis and Opportunities (“Immigration and school,” 2002). With America being the “land of opportunity,” one would think that our education system could actually improve the standard of living of the children of immigrants. This is not necessarily the case. In fact, in high immigration areas like California, about 14 percent of schools exceed their capacity by six to 25 percent, and eight percent exceed it by more than 25 percent (“Immigration and school,” 2002). Thinking rationally, more people require more resources. However, overcrowding puts a heavy strain on the resources that are allocated by the federal government, which means that the schools and the students that they possess will fail to reach their full potential. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, “over 90 percent of the recent immigrants come from non-English speaking countries; in 1998, there were 3.2 million public school students with no proficiency in English, almost twice as many as there were in 1990 (“Immigration and school,” 2002).” This simply means that the students that attend these schools, if they are lucky enough to graduate, will not be properly equipped to enter the English-speaking American workforce; crippling them and pigeonholing them for low wage, unskilled occupations.

d. Besides crippling the immigrant population, both legal and illegal, there is evidence that competition based on a larger migrant population seriously impedes the under-skilled American populace. In an article entitled, “Jobs Americans Won’t Do? A Detailed Look at Immigrant Employment by Occupation,” Steven Camarota and Karen Jensenius take note of jobs that are usually thought to be overwhelmingly immigrant that are actually occupied by a native-born majority. Camarota and Jensenius maintain that, “most natives do not face significant job competition from immigrants; however, those who do tend to be less-educated and poorer than those who face relatively little competition from immigrants (Camarota, & Jensenius, 2009).” The often made argument that immigrants do the jobs that American’s don’t want is proven dramatically wrong. While skilled (educated) workers might not aspire to be a maid, janitor, or construction worker, for the under-educated- it may be all that they have. As Julian L. Simon said in his piece, Immigration to the United States Should Be Increased, “The logic is simple: if the number of jobs is fixed, and immigrants occupy some jobs, there must be fewer available jobs for natives (Simon, 1995).” Rosemary Jenks put it best when she said, “It simply is not moral[ly]or civically responsible to offer the American Dream to mass numbers of foreigners at the cost of denying it to the most vulnerable of our fellow Americans (Jenks, 2011).”

e. In a capitalist society, competition drives down prices; the same applies with how much the employer is willing to pay their employee. If unskilled American workers want to work for higher wages, but it is much cheaper for production to hire unskilled immigrants who will work for less, it only makes sense to pay the lower wage for the same quality. Once that happens, the wage limit is set, and those unskilled Americans either have to work for the lower wage or not earn anything at all. This rationalization is the basis of exploitation and master-slave relationships between employers and immigrants. A perfect example of this took place in the tomato industry in the 1980’s. A collection of unionized lawful border crossers worked in the San Diego county tomato crop picking business for many years, making $4.00 an hour in 1980. As time went on, the farmers changed to a team of illegal workers and cut the wage to $3.35, in order to save some money. Many of the veteran workers refused to work at the reduced rate and were displaced from the tomato fields indefinitely (“Immigration and job,” 2010). Another example of exploitation happened in January of 2008 in San Diego when, “at least three Mexican illegal aliens were forced to work as day labors after being smuggled into the county. If they refused, they were threatened with arrest (“Fair’s immigration 101,” 2010) .” This master-slave exploitation is unethical in more ways than one.

f. Another argument involving exploitation and master-slave relationship is the ever increasing wage gap between rich and poor. Marxists might call this the “haves vs. the have-nots.” The Council of Economic Advisors, 1993 Annual Report to the President stated,” The number of people in immigrant households living in poverty tripled from 2.7 million in 1979 to 7.7 million in 1997. Between 1979 and 1997, immigrant households increased their representation in the U.S. population by 68 percent; but over that same period, their share of the total poor population increased 123 percent. The growth in immigrant-related poverty accounted for 75 percent of 3 million of the total increase in the size of the poor population between 1989 and 1997 (“Immigration and income,” 2002).” Furthermore, in high immigrant populated areas, the disparity between rich and poor was far greater than the disparity between lower immigrant populations (“Immigration and income,” 2002). These findings show that there is a positive correlation between high immigration and larger income disparities. It should be noted that it is immoral to allow a higher population of immigrants to be placed at an automatic disadvantage.

3. Open Issue

The main issue that my research could not resolve is the relative nature of morality in respect to immigration. To be clear, no data can put a definitive number on how ethical or unethical an influx in immigration actually is. Through my research, I found it hard to find an answer to my question of ethics in the master-slave relationship that often occurs between employers and America’s unskilled immigrants. The ethical implications of both of these are extremely important, especially to the normative decision makers that base their decisions on values. In order to obtain more conclusive data in these terms, one might conduct an ethnographical or observational study on both immigrants and native citizens in high and low immigration territories to measure the different effects.

Sources:

Camarota, S.A., & Jensenius, K. (2009, August). Jobs americans won’t do? a detailed look at immigrant employment by occupation [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://cis.org/illegalImmigration-employment Daniels, R. (2008, April 03).

The immigration act of 1965: intended and unintended consequences of the 20th century [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.america.gov/st/educ-english/2008/April/20080423214226eaifas0.9637982.html

Fair’s immigration 101 [Web log message]. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/immigration101.pdf?docID=422

Immigration and income inequality [Web log message]. (2002, October). Retrieved from http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=23334&security=1601&news_iv_ctrl=1010

Immigration and job displacemet [Web log message]. (2010, June). Retrieved from http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=16983&security=1601&news_iv_ctrl=1017

Immigration and poverty [Web log message]. (2010, June). Retrieved from http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=16936&security=1601&news_iv_ctrl=1010

Immigration and school overcrowding [Web log message]. (2002, October). Retrieved from http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=16935&security=1601&news_iv_ctrl=1010 Jenks, R. (2011, January).

A less restrictive immigration policy is morally and civically best for america [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.numbersusa.com/content/learn/issues/american-workers/less-restrictive-immigration-policy-morally-and-civically-best-america

Lower wages for american workers [Web log message]. (2010, June). Retrieved from http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=16973&security=1601&news_ iv_ctrl=1017 Rector, R. (2006, October 25).

Importing poverty: immigration and poverty in the united states: a book of charts [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/10/importing-poverty-immigration-and-poverty-in-the-united-states-a-book-of-charts Simon, J. (1995).

Immigration to the united states should be increased. In B. Leone (Ed.), Immigration Policy (pp. 60). San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, Inc.

Third world growth — california style [Web log message]. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.numbersusa.com/content/learn/issues/environment/third-world-growth-california-style.html

Illegal immigrants entitled to in-state tuition, CA Supreme Court rules

Taken from SFPA and The California Review on November 18th, 2010:

California has a number of big problems: illegal immigration, budget deficits, tuition hikes for already strapped families. All these problems combine into one: in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

The California Supreme Court has affirmed the state program granting in-state tuition to “undocumented students,” all while tuition hikes are imminent the University of California and the California State University systems (8 percent and 15 percent, respectively). As a California public university student, all I can do is watch our the continued budget difficulties and our growing appeasement to those without U.S. citizenship.

 

Opposition to this ruling will be viewed by some leftists as a racist attack against minorities. Americans do not hate immigrants, contrary to the image leftists seek to craft on a daily basis. Our nation was established upon the efforts and contributions made by immigrants that fled to the United States in search of better opportunities. The land of opportunity welcomes each person with open arms, regardless of any skin color or country of origin.

However, granting amnesty to people entering our country by illegal means—as the DREAM Act purports to do if it were passed—will prove deleterious to the state of California and our nation. Amnesty in the form of affirmation action is no excuse for undermining our education system further. Nevertheless, National Public Radio reports:

The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously this week that illegal immigrant students can continue to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. The controversial ruling makes higher education in California more affordable for students who don’t have legal status. Critics of the ruling say they are precisely the students who should not be in the United States in the first place.

Unfortunately, many people in the state of California are suffering from increased hardships. No one group should be entitled to special treatment just because they boast a certain national origin. Nevertheless, leftists will go to any means to pass this type of legislation. The L.A. Times elaborates on that notion in the following:

Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving college benefits based on residency and not provided to all citizens. A lawyer for the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, which sided with the challengers in the case, said the ruling failed to acknowledge “clear tension between federal law and the state’s special financial benefits for illegal immigrant students.” The case is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. “California is not in sync with the federal mandate against giving Brownie points for being an illegal immigrant,” said Ralph Kasarda, an attorney with the foundation.

Yet, supporters of the ruling cite that it will not supersede federal law due to California’s nonresident tuition exemption of 2001, which offers in-state tuition to those who attended California high school for a minimum of three years. Students that qualify are either illegal or those that live out of California who met the minimum addressed above. The California Nonresident Tuition Exemption of 2001 is addressed here:

Any student, other than a nonimmigrant alien, who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).

  • Requirements:
    • The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years.
    • The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam).
    • An alien student who is without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.
  • Students who are nonimmigrants [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.
  • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.
  • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.
  • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be “nonresidents”.
  • AB540 does not provide student financial aid eligibility for undocumented alien students. These students remain ineligible for state and federal financial aid.

Continual efforts to undermine legal immigration will prove costly. If you follow American laws and have legitimate state residency, then and only then should you be allowed the privilege of in-state tuition — no exceptions.