9 billion a year: Down the toilet

Republican Assemblyman Ray Haynes has introduced a bill that would create a new Border Patrol in California, arguing that we must get rid of illegal immigrants because they “flagrantly take advantage� of taxpayers. The bill, ACA 20, was evaluated and brought to a vote on July 5 in the State Assembly Judicial Committee where it was rejected. Now Haynes, together with a group of volunteers, is launching a signature collection campaign to put the measure on the 2006 ballot.

The signature campaign, which began on July 25, will be conducted by a company hired by the Border Patrol Committee of California. According to committee spokesperson Cristina Rivera, in order to make it onto ballot, a minimum of 598,106 signatures must be collected in the next 150 days.

In a phone interview with El Mensajero, Rivera said they hope to collect 900,000 signatures. “Californians, many of them in San Diego, are tired of illegal immigration and want something to be done because the federal government is not solving the problem.�
The California Border Patrol, according to Rivera, would be composed of approximately 2,000 agents and would cost between 200 and 400 million dollars.

“Californians are prepared to pay for this measure,� she said, “because illegals are costing us nine billion dollars a year that we spend on their medical care, education and keeping them in jail when they commit a crime.�

When asked if she thought the bill could jeopardize the rights of immigrant workers, Rivera responded, “No, because those who come here illegally and take advantage of our system don’t have rights.�

George Andrews, executive director of the California Border Police Committee, said in an interview that although they expect some opposition, the proposal to create a California Border Patrol is very popular and “relies on the support of recognized politicians, journalists and many groups of people throughout California.�


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