There are millions of illegal immigrants in California.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistic there was an estimated 2.6 million illegal immigrants residing in California in 2009. In total, illegal immigrants represent about 6.8 percent of the state’s population.
So, it is no wonder Assembly Bill 26, proposed by State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, died in committee this month. In fact, it was probably never really alive.
The bill, similar to that of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, would have required employers to use the federal E-Verify program to confirm the legal work status of all employees, imposing sanctions on employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers.
“Sanctuary cities,” like San Francisco and Los Angeles would have also been barred under the legislation, allowing any citizen to sue his or her local government for operating as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.
AB 26 would have made it a misdemeanor trespass for any illegal immigrant to be on public or private land, reinforcing federal immigration laws which already make it a crime to be in the United States illegally.
The hot-button issue of immigration almost always leads to the same place: racism.
It is virtually impossible to be in favor of enforcing current immigration laws without being labeled a racist. People simply assume that if you are against illegal immigration you must be against immigrants in general.
Katherine Sheldon, junior psychology major, agrees with that position.
“It’s subconscious racism,” Sheldon said. “There’s an underlying tone of racism in propositions like that and the people who support them.”
Bills like AB 26 and Arizona’s SB 1070 are designed to uphold and enforce federal laws that are already on the books. They are not, as some might assume, simply the political desire of the right wing to stop immigrants to come into the country.
It is not racist to require people to come into the U.S. through legal means.
The United States was built on the backs of immigrants and it has always been a place that welcomes people from around the world. Immigration has created a rich and diverse society and has made our country one of the most desired places to live on the planet.
However, we are also a nation of laws. It is just like a parent who makes rules for his or her children but then allows them to be broken. If we continue to allow people to come into the country illegally, we might as well throw out the laws and open the borders.
But, as Donnelly found out, being in favor of enforcing federal immigration laws is not popular in California.
Ryan Nowshiravan, freshman biology major, likes the idea of sanctuary cities and does not believe employers should be prosecuted for hiring illegal immigrants in California, even if it is against federal law.
“Everybody deserves a chance,” Nowshiravan said. “There should be some kind of requirement that they should be working, but that means employers have to hire them.”
However, hiring undocumented workers perpetuates the cycle of illegal immigration. It creates an incentive for people to go around legal means of getting a work visa or applying for citizenship. It pushes employers into the dirty business of choosing low-wage undocumented workers over higher-paid legal employees.
Immigration will be an issue to deal with for many years to come. There are many sides with valid points to consider. But we must have open discussion about it without allowing emotion to devolve the conversation into simple name-calling and ad hominem attacks. Disagreement does not equal racism.
Kelly Walters can be reached at [email protected]
My name is Sarah Couch and I running for Associated Students Inc. President. I the current VP of University Affairs and served three years within the ASI community.
In an effort to get involved in the advocacy efforts on campus, I joined ASI and was given opportunities to expand my leadership skills, making contacts with the administration to fight for students. I’ve met some of the most amazing people in ASI, who made me feel connected to a school and able make a difference. I entered the ASI Government Office a shy kid, wanting to help out, and am now a more confident person. My passion for ASI and its students grows every day.
This past year, I fought to improve campus safety, achieve unparalleled levels in committee participation and retention, and improve ASI programs to increase interaction with students. I brought free self-defense courses to the campus and helped coordinate the One Student response campaign to pledge to end sexual violence. Next year, i re-established ASI’s connection with the residence halls and improved communication. ASI will step up and open the doors to the ASI Government Office from a new vantage point, making internships to expanding the strength of our volunteer base and putting more leadership power in the committees. Our advocacy efforts will strengthen in outreach to the campus and beyond with increased resources for the programs, speaking at town halls and to legislators to make our voice heard.
As a member of the Honors Program, former president of the Student Alumni Association, and the only candidate for ASI president who has EVER served on the Board of Directors, I look forward to the challenges of the year ahead, ever more confident that I know how to tackle the issues of the future.
Lead with YOUR vote, Together We All L.E.A.D.
My name is Laura Gonzalez and I am a candidate for president. I became involved in Associated Students as a freshman; most recently, I have held the position of director of the Office of Governmental Affairs for two years.
During my time as director, I shaped a model for student advocacy called Lobby Corps, researched and worked on creating a polling location on campus, and represented Sacramento State at the local, state, and federal level.
Outside of ASI, I have been on the executive board of Sigma Lambda Gamma and the United Sorority and Fraternity Council. My experience has allowed me to listen and act to the demands and suggestions of members and compromise in the decision-making process.
I want to continue to connect students to resources available, advocate for current and future students and maintain Sac State as an asset and priority in our community.
Most importantly, I want to address the REAL ISSUES affecting us. I am committed to the development of Sac State and the creation of campus expansion through the expression of student interests and capitalizing from the attractions our campus brings to our community.
I believe the opportunity of being elected for ASI president will enhance my ability as a leader but most importantly change the perception of student government by working with students on OUR VISION for OUR CAMPUS and ensure that the leadership that begins here continues for all students.
My name is Avi Brotslaw and it is my honor to run for president this year.
I have been fortunate enough to experience the college life that Sac State offers by participating in many campus clubs, beginning when I lived in the resident halls my freshman year when I joined Kappa Sigma. I also work for the police department on campus. Later I got involved with ASI and saw its potential to grow.
I’m running with the RUCKUS. We want to be the noise that will change Sac State!
I’m tired of seeing clubs and organizations fight for money at different midpoints in the year. The Ruckus believes that eligible clubs should start out with seed money at the beginning of the year and not have to fight for it. Clubs and organizations are the heart and soul of this campus and deserve our full front attention. I’m also running on the platform of bringing more fun events on campus. Having something going on in the Library Quad gives students a chance to relax and have fun in between classes. Whether it’s a mini-carnival or band in the Quad, these events help give everyone the college experience they have always wanted. It’s time we focus on the students rather than on maintaining a bureaucracy that rewards the same people who run for office over and over again.
If I’m fortunate enough to be elected I will be your advocate.
Whether it’s on fighting tuition hikes or fighting to get your club the space and recognition it needs, I will be there. I’ve had a blast these past few years and want to help other students see the great potential we have as a campus. On April 26 and 27 I hope to earn your vote and support in this election.