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Roger Gitlin: Thoughts on the city’s immigration forum

SCV Voices

Posted: July 3, 2010 9:16 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2010 4:55 a.m.

On the eve of America’s 234th birthday, President Barack Obama met with the Hispanic Caucus then addressed the American people on the subject of illegal immigration.

Regrettably, the president laid out the same tired mantra: comprehensive immigration reform (amnesty) and a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 20-30 million illegal immigrants. Is comprehensive immigration reform the answer for all problems related to illegal immigration?

I am here to tell you the president’s solution to solve America’s immigration problem is, if I may use the president’s own words, “misguided.”

America has smartened up. Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, released a statement that “Americans are tired of empty promises where immigration is concerned. They are angry and alarmed by the increasing number of illegal immigrants and drug cartels along the border.”

Amnesty didn’t work in 1986, and it certainly isn’t going to work now. President Barack Obama is a prisoner of his own ideology, and the people are not with him.

Last Monday, the city of Santa Clarita hosted its first immigration forum. Extremely short notice was given to the public.

An estimated 125 Santa Clarita residents, overwhelmingly conservative, showed up to listen to so-called experts and address the City Council directly.

Admittedly, I was and remain skeptical about the intentions of four of the City Council members in hosting the forum.

Mayor Laurene Weste and council members Marsha McLean and Frank Ferry, despite their campaign literature claiming full support and strong enforcement of our border and existing immigration law, have yet to convince me they practice what they preach. Councilwoman Laurie Ender, who was not up for re-election, has stayed clear of stating her position on the hot-button topic.

The first panel member to speak was University of California, Los Angeles law professor Judy London, a self-described member of Public Counsel, who delivered a history lesson on modern American immigration. Early on, her words revealed she was not objective when she referred to illegal immigrants as “undocumented workers.”  London went on to lecture the audience about the failed Bracero worker’s program, discontinued from the 1960s. She told us growers stole money from Bracero agricultural workers and her group, Public Counsel, is still attempting to recover those wages.

London failed to mention the highly successful Bracero program was discontinued through and by the efforts of one César Chávez, who wanted those jobs to go to American farm workers. The left-wing ideologue told the audience undocumented workers are not entitled to welfare costs, but failed to mention their anchor-baby children are entitled to all kinds of county assistance.

Weste told the audience the cost to county taxpayers for illegal immigrants is more than $1 billion annually. London related to the audience about the amnesty instituted in 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan and the failure of Proposition 187 in 1996. For the record, Proposition 187 passed convincingly, but on appeal, California Gov. Gray Davis instructed the Attorney General to drop the legal hurdle, effectively killing Proposition 187.

One community member who addressed the council accused London of treason and thought she should be arrested for aiding and abetting an illegal act. That speaker raised a very valid point.

My question is simple: Who invited professor Judy London to speak on this panel?

Other panel members came with excellent credentials and no perceived agenda.

The panelists were Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Commander Alex Yim and Chief Arthur Eng, who spoke about the actual percentages of illegal immigrants in county jails. The number fluctuates but is generally about 20 percent of a 16,000-20,000 jail population. Many of those are deportable upon release.

Also speaking was Assistant City Attorney Joe Montes, whose office is closely watching the status of Redondo Beach’s day-labor ordinance, which clearly governs where illegal immigrants may and may not be in that city. The status of that ordinance has recently been upheld by the very liberal 9th District Court of Appeals. Another appeal awaits review.

In my three minutes allotted, I held up three documents: Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act; U.S. Code 1324, which notes bringing in and harboring certain aliens is against the law; and California Penal Code 834b. California law enforcement is fully obligated to enforce U.S. Code 1324. Sanctuary cities are clearly against the law.

I informed the City Council the three laws were virtually identical, calling for criminal penalties for illegally entering the United Stated States. Anyone who abets this criminal endeavor is subject to the full effect of the American justice system: prison time and stiff fines.

The only problem is, California and U.S. law are not enforced — not in the least. Arizona intends to enforce its law in late July. I say bravo!

I called for the timid council to declare Santa Clarita “a rule-of-law city.”

The city council member I most admire is Bob Kellar, who stood alone like a beacon in a gale. Kellar expressed his disappointment in the total lack of action by his fellow council members. Kellar steadfastly stated, “I’m for protecting our neighborhoods, our businesses and the American way of life, and that means no illegals.”

Kellar went on to ask the council to join him in declaring this a non-sanctuary city, send a letter of support to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and implement Redondo Beach’s day-labor law. Sadly and regrettably, a cowering, politically correct City Council of Weste, Ender, McLean and Ferry failed to support Kellar.

I continue to be amazed on how out of touch these four council members are. Why do these elected officials display such cowardice when it comes to standing up for their city’s citizens?

Why do these four straddle the fence, clearly compromising our community?

I don’t know. If you speak to them, you might want to ask those same questions.

As we celebrate our nation’s greatness today, let us pray these politicians, local, state and federal, do not allow our great country to be blurred into nonexistence by their political correctness.

Roger Gitlin is a teacher, founder of the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen and state director of the Patriot’s Coalition. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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