Consequences of California SB 174
by Alan Ding, Escondido Charter High School
California State Senator Ricardo Lara introduced California Senate Bill SB 174 to allow any resident of the state over eighteen years of age to be able to hold an appointed civil office regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The highlight of the bill is to grant illegal immigrants eligibility to serve on all state and local boards and commissions. As a lawmaker, I would oppose SB 174 because of its unrealistic approach to solving the immigration issue and the fact that it would create more tension between California and the Federal government over immigration policies.
First of all, if this bill were passed, Senator Lara admits, “each board or commission would have to analyze federal law to determine if the appointee could be compensated for the work he or she contributed based on their individual immigration status” (Luna). The status of each individual would have to be examined, which would make more work and worsen the economic burden of the government.
Secondly, bills like SB 174 fit into a larger agenda of broadening all benefits to all illegal immigrants. Senator Lara’s plan is part of a bigger picture to grant all illegal immigrants more freedom and benefits (Luna). The bill would open a Pandora’s Box. Initially it would provide illegal immigrants eligibility to hold appointed civil offices, opening more doors for illegal immigrants to occupy civil offices in other categories, which may eventually exceed most people’s expectation and control.
Thirdly, like any policy favorable to illegal immigrants, SB 174 would send a signal to our Central American neighbors that our nation is opening up her arms to receive them. Instead of helping out the illegal immigrants residing in the United States, the bill would attract more aliens to cross the border.
Furthermore, the United States indeed has a large immigrant population that provides a lot of menial labors in this country. Laws should focus on employers to be held more accountable while hiring rather than providing illegal immigrants with more benefits. One example of an effort to help employers follow the law is the employer sanctions law. Its purpose is to make sure employers only hire people who can legally work in the United States. Employers have to verify the identity and employment authorization of each empolyee. At the same time, the law prohibits discrimination against any individuals who are able to work legally, regardless of immigration status and nationality. (“Why Employers”). This makes it fairer for law-abiding business owners and employees and brings new immigrants into the tax base. Enforcing employment laws would make it harder to be an illegal immigrant and make both employers and employees more accountable.
Finally, this bill would further antagonize the Federal government on the issue of immigration at a time when “the state is locked in a broader legal battle with the Trump administration over state immigration laws and his call for mass deportations” (Ulloa). The Constitution gives the Federal government supreme authority over immigration. California needs to respect that; otherwise it violates the Constitution.
In summary, we should work more on finding solutions that help everyone, like legalizing immigrants to create equality and fairness. Immigrants play a huge role in our society. They actually pay taxes, and they do the jobs that no one wants to do but are important to our economy. We should instead focus on a more realistic approach to deal with immigrants that targets employers and keeps people accountable. That is why I would oppose SB 174.
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https://immigration.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000842. Accessed 09 August 2018.
Ulloa, Jazmine. “All Californians would be able to serve on state boards-even people in the U.S.
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