View from Lodi, CA: Federal Immigration Failure Wrecking The Golden State

I wrote my first opinion page editorial twelve years
ago.

Or, expressed another way, my first Op-ed appeared
when California had 7.5 million fewer residents.

Every May, the

California Department of Finance
releases the latest
population data for the state. The same overwhelming
numbers are unemotionally announced year after year. For
2001, California`s population increased 652,000, bringing
the total to more than 35 million. [Califoria
DOF official figures
—(MS Word.doc, 38k)]

That`s about 1, 750 new people each day—a pretty
tough number to keep up with.

According to the DOF, population growth is fueled by
high levels of both natural increase and net
immigration, “the familiar engines of state increase.”
Net migration accounted for 54% of the growth with
births contributing 46% of the new residents.

The DOF cavalierly noted that these data “reflect a
general continuation in the amount and pace of the
state`s growth.”

But the DOF, and California`s leading daily
newspapers, didn`t comment on the consequences of a
continued 2% annual growth in the state`s population.

If you have eyes in your head, you know that
California is a train wreck. The U.S. Census Bureau

predicts
that if current California trends continue,
the state will have 50 million residents by 2025. When
that awful moment arrives, and it will, Californians
will be living more densely than today`s residents of
China.

At about the same time that the DOF released its grim
statistics, Governor Gray Davis weighed in with some bad
news of his own. Davis announced that California faces
an

unparalleled budget deficit
of $24 billion.

Davis warned of “painful cuts” in social services and

tax increases.

Tim Gage, the director of the state Department of
Finance, issued the official Sacramento explanation for
the

budget
deficit: the extraordinary fall of the stock
market.

But Gage is only permitted to talk about the most
superficial cause of California`s headaches. Sure, the
steep decline in the NASDAQ is a contributor to
California`s financial woes.

But Gage and other analysts steadfastly refuse to
connect the dots. If (mostly illegal) immigration makes
up more than half of the population growth, what

impact
does that have on the budget shortfall?

And as those immigrants bear children, don`t those
children continue add to both the population and budget
woes of California?

On December 19, 2001, the Lodi News-Sentinel
ran a compelling story about

California birth patterns
. The headline, “Hispanic
babies nearly half of all born in state,” summarizes the

findings
of a University of California at Los
Angeles

study
.[PDF]

According to the UCLA report, 47.5% of California
babies are Hispanic. Non-Hispanic whites totaled 34%;
Asians, 11% and Blacks, 7%.

The story provided much more telling information. In
Los Angeles County, 62% of all births were Hispanic. The
percentage climbs to 75% in Imperial County adjacent to
the Mexican border.

What a coincidence. The closer you get to Mexico, the
more Hispanic babies are born. But if the term “anchor
babies” means anything to you, then you aren`t surprised
by the geographic relationship.

All the brand spanking new babies are U.S. citizens
even though their parents are illegal aliens. These
anchor babies,

as U.S. citizens,
are immediately entitled to the
full plate of social services from cradle to grave.


Allan Wall,
a U.S. journalist living in Mexico, has
written an excellent essay in

Front Page Magazine
describing the lunacy of the
anchor baby law. To read his entire article

click here…

No one has a clue why California taxpayers should
foot the delivery costs—and all the future bills–for
the children of illegal aliens. Needless to say, no
other country in the world has a similar policy.

In fact, in today`s upside down America, an anchor
baby born in the back of a van just crossing the
California border may one day be given preferential
treatment over the child of a U.S. Marine fighting
terrorism in Afghanistan.

You`ll never live to hear Gray Davis say this but
those anchor babies are quite a drain on California`s
finances.

Pre and postnatal care are a drop in the bucket
compared to the cost of K-12 education. California
currently has 1.5 million

English Language Learners
in its public school
system. The cost to educate them is between $8 and $10
billion annually.

Davis could pare his massive deficit by one-third if
he weren`t responsible for educating illegal aliens and
the children of those aliens.

But since the 9-11 tragedy hasn`t moved the federal
government very far along in

addressing
its illegal immigration problem, it`s
unlikely that a $24 billion California state shortfall
or a

runaway population problem
will be effective either.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel
.