And so the fight between billionaire, Meg Whitman and millionaire, Steve Poizner, has come down to the same old worn out hate-mongering “blame it on the immigrants” catcalls of the past. I suppose it appeals to the far right, which is the voting block these two are going after in the primary. Here’s part of Poizner’s pitch-
“As governor, he will address the challenge of illegal immigration boldly and unapologetically. Steve will use the governor’s authority to fight illegal immigration with every tool at his disposal. As governor, he will advocate for the following policies:
1. Cutting Taxpayer-Funded Benefits To Illegal Immigrants
2. Holding Employers Responsible For Following The Law
3. Ending Sanctuary City Practices
4. Securing Our Borders ” (stevepoizner.com)
Oh really? How? Notice that it says he’s going to “advocate” and not actually do anything?
That’s not what the anti-immigration argument is designed to make you think. It’s designed to make you think that Steve Poizner is the cure for our immigration ills, and that he will somehow get it done by advocating policies which include securing the border with Mexico, whose residents come here to work and (or) escape the drug war in their homeland. A drug war fueled by America’s appetite for illicit narcotics and our refusal to admit that the “war on drugs” was lost long ago and it’s time for people of reason to take a look at a new and more realistic direction on just how our national drug use problem should be handled.
Maybe legalizing and thereby controlling marijuana would be a place to start? You know, fewer people in prison which would save us untold millions on law enforcement and incarceration?
“In 2007 the Department of Justice reported that there were 1,841,182 drug arrests in the United States; the report noted that there were more drug abuse arrests than any other category of offenses. Marijuana arrests accounted for 47.4% of the drug abuse arrests. This allows us to estimate that about 872,720 persons were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-nine percent of these arrests were for possession. The 2007 arrest data is even worse than 2006 when 829,627 people were arrested for marijuana (a Project Censored’s top 25 story in 2008). In 2005 there were 786,545 marijuana arrests, meaning that the number of arrests increased by 86K in just two years. Clearly, marijuana is an intense focus of police interest and activity; far more, apparently, than the less important crimes occurring at the same time on Wall Street.” –Socialmedicine.org
If you want to turn someone into a hardened criminal, throw him in prison. That’s what the hardened criminals say.
There will be a referendum on the California ballot in November, asking the state’s residents if they want to legalize and tax marijuana or continue paying the high price for throwing thousands in prison on pot violations. Should be a no-brainer for anyone still in possession of a functioning brain. I say this, only because roughly 50% of our population is walking around while under the influence of prescription drugs. But that’s okay. Or is it?
Here are some interesting numbers from the state of Florida:
“An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together. According to state law enforcement officials, this is a sign of a burgeoning prescription drug abuse problem. “The abuse has reached epidemic proportions,” said Lisa McElhaney, a sergeant in the pharmaceutical drug diversion unit of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s just explosive.”
In 2007, cocaine was responsible for 843 deaths, heroin for 121, methamphetamines for 25 and marijuana for zero, for a total of 989 deaths. In contrast, 2,328 people were killed by opioid painkillers, including Vicodin and Oxycontin, and 743 were killed by drugs containing benzodiazepine, including the antidepressants Valium and Xanax.”-Truthout
Did you catch the part about marijuana being responsible “for zero” deaths?
But I digress, we were talking about clamping down on illegal immigration, a concept which is interesting in and of itself because California has been losing population.
“For years more people have fled the Golden State than have arrived. In the year ended July 1, California was the country’s biggest loser, with nearly 100,000 more residents leaving than moving in. Still, that was an improvement over earlier losses: In 2006 the net decline was 313,081.” -CNN Money 12/27/09
But hasn’t that big wall Mr. Bush built on our southern border made a difference? That 700 mile-long wall that runs along our 2000 mile-long border with Mexico. Hasn’t “The Great Wall of Mexico” done anything to stop the flood of illegal immigration?
An editorial in the Los Angeles Times calls the fence “A high-tech, low-result border fence.” According to the paper, the fence is a billion dollar bust. Not sure whether they are including the $50 million Homeland Security had to contribute to mitigate environmental impact issues. Anyway, what’s $50 million here or there when you’re talking about a billion dollar project?
Why are there always unanticipated cost overruns on government projects? But back on point, why is the immigration problem we’ve created through decades of offering jobs to illegal immigrants and only made worse by our national drug habit now at the center of a heated debate for our two good Republican candidates here in California?
To her credit, Meg Whitman, appears to be taking the more realistic approach.
“The truth is we are always going to have a problem with illegal immigration as long as there is a demand for undocumented labor. We need to build an “economic fence” with a strong e-verification system that holds employers accountable for only hiring documented workers. The lure of well-paying jobs is the ultimate magnet attracting illegal immigrants to our state. To remove it, we have to give employers the tools they need to do the right thing, and then we must strictly enforce the law.
We also need to crack down through legislation on sanctuary cities like San Francisco that shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws.
But the real key to this issue rests in the hands of Congress and the president. The bottom line is we need more federal Border Patrol resources at the Mexican border. The California congressional delegation needs to work together with other border-state representatives to get something done on border security once and for all.” – Meg Whitman
Give employers “the tools they need?” Crack down on cities like San Francisco? Beef up resources on the border?
It’s all been said before. It’s all been tried before. It has all failed before. Anyway, if you admit “the real key to the issue rests in the hands of Congress and the president,” aren’t you admitting a certain powerlessness to impact the situation?
Poizner, by the way, is now criticizing Whitman for agreeing with President Obama’s ideas on immigration reform. More red meat for the far right.
We’ve tumbled through the looking glass, Alice. We openly condemn a situation we helped to create and continue to support every time somebody hires an undocumented worker, passes a joint or pays a dealer.
California continues to lose population and jobs as companies relocate to more “business friendly” states. The San Francisco Business Times reports a loss of 79,000 factory jobs over the past 12 months.
Never mind all that. Advocate away while you throw more money at it. Enforce unenforceable laws against hiring undocumented workers. Build a bigger fence that doesn’t keep people out. Put more guards on the 2000 mile-long border. Continue putting people in prison for a prohibition that continues to fail in a war that can’t be won while we go broke paying for their incarceration.
And when the next election cycle rolls around, blame it on the immigrants. It’s a political ploy that’s worked for decades.