Three million dollars. It’s a drop in the bucket for $100+ billion budget. That’s the amount Governor Jerry Brown is suggesting to amend the budget in an effort to support the illegal immigrant children who’ve come across the border unaccompanied. He says it’s the “decent thing to do.” That’s $3 million of your hard-earned tax dollars.
But wait, I thought immigration was a Federal issue. Aren’t the Feds handling all of this through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? Why does this become an issue for the state? Perhaps Governor Brown is just concerned for the well-being of these children. Or maybe he’s sticking his nose (and our tax money) where it doesn’t belong.
No, $3 million is not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. But that’s not really the point, now is it. Taxpayer money is used for many things, however, the intent is for it to serve the general population of our state. It’s intended to provide various services to the citizenry. Services like public safety, education, and maintenance of public property. Did I mention it’s paid by the citizenry, for the citizenry?
This $3 million will be distributed to various non-profits who will provide free legal services for those unaccompanied illegal immigrant children who’ve recently been flooding our southern border. Legal services to help them navigate the immigration process to allow them to remain in the United States and become citizens.
I know, I know… they’re children. Wipe that image of unaccompanied 3, 4, and 5 year olds out of your mind. Some may be that age. But most are over the age of 14, according to Health and Human Services. And three quarters of them are boys, teenage boys.
The money won’t be used for food, clothing, medical care, or shelter. It is strictly for legal services. Let that sink in. Governor Brown wants to take our tax money to help people who have broken the law to enter our country, who’ve jumped ahead of the people awaiting legal immigration, and pay for their legal representation to help them remain in our country, and become citizens.
Some of these non-profits who would receive the funds are actually exacerbating the illegal flood. One agency that provides free legal assistance to illegal immigrants also provides them with all the right buzz words to prevent immediate deportation (can you say “job security”?) They’ve even posted an instructional video on YouTube! And another agency is so anti-United States that they don’t even want to acknowledge the border exists, saying that we are “all Americans” and regularly advocates for Mexico to take back the land that was stolen from them. Are these non-profits the ones who will be receiving our tax money? The bill doesn’t specify. But we need to know that. Because they are not part of the solution, they are contributing to the problem.
Forget the fact that these juveniles may be runaways, or worse, criminals. How do we know that they weren’t taken from their families? And if they remain here, where will they live? Will they enter our foster system, generating another emergency request for additional funds? At 14+ years of age, I dare say, none of these “children” will be candidates for adoption, which means they will continue to be a monetary drain on our state until they reach legal age. Where will that money come from?
Having compassion for children and youth from oppressive countries is a noble cause. Given unlimited resources, maybe this would be the thing to do. But we don’t have unlimited resources. Our state budget is tenuous at best. Governor Brown says there’s a surplus. But we all know there are ways to shift figures to achieve a desired outcome and critics agree, this surplus is only shifting the impending pension issue onto future generations.
Can we afford to spend $3 million to help these young people? Let’s say we can. Do we know how many $3 million will legally defend? Do we know the additional costs over the next 4 years for those who will remain in our state? And, possibly more importantly, will this generosity open the flood gates even wider? These questions need to be answered before any money is added to our already burgeoning budget.
And, quite frankly, Governor, the “decent thing to do” would have been for these youth to follow our laws rather than breaking the law the instant they entered our country.
Photo credit California State Library