Will California Immigration Be The Next Legal Flash Point?

The Arizona immigration law that was passed recently has been the center of controversy, and many experts believe that California immigration may just be the next battlefield for lawmakers. According to Reuters, Latinos in California, many of which are illegal residents, are stepping forward to protest the Arizona law. Liberals believe that if tougher immigration laws are put in place, it will be a gateway to human rights violations. Meanwhile, conservatives are keeping their grounds, proclaiming illegal immigration has gone too far. Both groups, however, are almost certain California will be the next to crack down on illegal immigrants.

California deals with immigration in its backyard

California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who live in San Francisco, support amnesty and welcome the flow of immigrants. Boxer has gone so far in the media as to say she’d be happy if illegal immigrants became legal via amnesty and came to live in her city. Of course anyone with a sense for Real Estate prices knows that illegal immigrant wages will never be able to support living in San Francisco. Thus, take Boxer’s open-armed invitation with a grain of margarita salt. California immigration will certainly be among talks with the upcoming state elections.

California holes the highest population in the U.S., illegal immigrants or not

The stakes in California would be tremendously high if California immigration law comes into question, particularly because of its large illegal immigrant population. Usually avoiding political involvement, members of the Latino community are now making their voices heard. Jose Rodriguez of the El Concilio community center in agricultural Stockton, Calif., told Reuters that “It is a large number of young people, those under 30, who speak English but realize that it doesn’t matter that they speak English. It has to do with the color of their skin.”

But as former G.W. Bush speechwriter David Frum points out, stopping anyone on the mere basis of skin color is strictly forbidden in the Arizona immigration law letter. In the Washington Post, George Will argues that what remains to be seen is whether good police officials in Arizona can aid this “worthwhile experiment in federalism” by making proper, un-biased judgment regarding immigration law enforcement. California might decide to go in a similar direction if the experiment proves to be successful.

A changing tide seen among conservatives

San Diego resident Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is a Republican, has been quotes saying the Arizona law is “a fantastic starting point,” although it remains unclear whether the upcoming California elections will take immigration as a major point for debate. Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman, the leading candidates in the California governor’s race, agree that the federal government needs to take action.

What it may come down to is whether candidates are too afraid to lose the Latino vote. Will California follow suit if Arizona – which is 30 percent Hispanic by some estimates – gets a majority to agree on tough immigration law? An estimated 36.6 percent of the state population, as reported by the 2008 census, was of Hispanic or Latino origin, but it is safe to assume that not everyone from that minority group will be politically active in the elections in California.

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