Illegal aliens can pay-to-stay in California

Illegal aliens can pay-to-stay in California

Sept. 5, 2012

By Katy Grimes

California Democrats worked overtime last week to set up a separate set of new rules and laws for illegal immigrants. While most agree that the federal government is not properly addressing illegal immigration, California is going in the opposite direction, and providing drivers licenses, education, health care, welfare and now a “safe harbor” for people in the state illegally.

The Legislature even is saying that if illegal aliens in California pay income taxes, they can enjoy amnesty for five years.

‘California Prosperity and Opportunity Act’

Call it “Pay to Stay.”

failed ballot initiative also called the “California Prosperity and Opportunity Act” estimated that as many as a million new taxpayers would contribute $325 million annually in general revenue to California, likely a high number. It was sold as a way to fund “desperately needed police and fire services.”

But the ballot initiative failed to get the necessary signatures to put it on the ballot. Instead, Steinberg and Fuentes gutted another bill, and placed the amnesty language into it, avoiding the standard public bill process entirely.

“You still are trying to buy votes,” Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, told Democratic colleagues in the Assembly on Friday, the last day of the two-year session. “This is yet another example of us veering off course. We are setting up a brand new society, with a separate set of rules for those who break the law.”

“This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whittier. Calderon said that illegal immigrants will end up paying more than anyone else because they won’t be able to take any deductions.

Republican Assemblywoman Diane Harkey said that Democrats were using the issue to make points in the press during an election year. “The president had an opportunity to correct this and did not,” Harkey said. “This is window dressing at best.”

Steinberg appeared in the Assembly during floor debate and lobbied hard for votes for SB 901. The first Assembly vote failed to get the 41 “yes” votes needed, and stalled at 38-27. But later in the day, after more lobbying, the bill passed 43-32, entirely along party lines.

Take the bus, train or drive a car?

While legal California drivers are practically being forced out of cars and onto public transportation, the Legislature passed a bill last week which will allow illegal immigrants to obtain a legal California Driver’s License.

California already provides illegal immigrants a public education through college,  public health care and, in many cases, welfare and food stamps.

However, there is nothing in AB 2189, by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, requiring the drivers to purchase auto insurance. And many are concerned that a driver’s license provides the identification needed to illegally cast a vote in the upcoming November election.

Cedillo has tried nine times since 1998 to get bills passed that would allow illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses. All those previous efforts failed. Cedillo is also the author of the California Dream Act, passed in 2011, which allows illegal aliens to obtain financial aid for college.

Pay-to-stay taxes

Then there is the bill establishing “a voluntary program to encourage certain immigrants to pay state income taxes, and requests the federal government not to expend resources on enforcement of immigration laws against program participants.”

“The California Opportunity and Prosperity Act,” by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-San Fernando, would create a five-year pilot program for illegal aliens living in California since 2008; whose who cannot get Social Security numbers would be exempt from “apprehension, detention or removal” by the federal government.

The Los Angeles Times stated that “it only makes sense.”

SB 901 was an 11th-hour gut-and-amend bill, and was not vetted publicly. (Proposition 31, on the November ballot, would seek to end the gut-and-amend practice.) SB 901 is “intended to encourage certain immigrants in California to file state income tax returns and potentially generate a substantial amount of new tax revenue for the state.”

SB 901 would direct Gov. Jerry Brown to ask President Barack Obama to suspend programs of the federal immigration and security agencies for the duration of California’s five-year program. It’s a five-year amnesty program for illegal immigrants who pay state income tax. It could be billed as a pay-to-stay tax.

This bill is another example of California overreaching its authority. There is nothing in federal law allowing the government to abdicate its authority over illegal aliens and shift that authority to a state.

The absurdity of the bill is the notion that, if illegal aliens pay state income taxes, they will not be subject to deportation. There are no such protections. Even the bill analysis recognizes this:  “Federal preemption carries particular force in the context of immigration because the federal government has broad, undoubted power over immigration and the status of aliens. (See, e.g., Toll v. Moreno, 458 U. S. 1, 10 (1982).

“Because this bill delves so closely into the subject of immigration, it is important to consider whether this bill may be preempted by federal law should it ultimately become law in California.”

Deferred action program

Most people agree that the lack of enforcement of U.S. immigration laws is a big problem, especially for border states. President Barack Obama made the problem worse earlier this year when he announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would no longer deport illegal aliens who were in the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday. The law also states that illegal aliens 30 years old or younger are also eligible.

In addition to allowing millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the country, California will be providing them driver’s licenses and financial aid for college. Fuentes and Steinberg should have called the bill “the California Amnesty, Education and Identification Voter Act.”

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