Will California Immigration Be The Next Legal Flash Point?

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The recent Arizona immigration law has been getting a lot of attention, and many experts believe the next battleground for lawmakers may just be California immigration. According to a report from Reuters, Latinos in California – many of them illegal residents – are stepping up to protest the Arizona law. Liberals consider tougher immigration laws to be a gateway to human rights violations, while conservatives stand fast in their position that illegal immigration has gone too far. Both groups, however, believe California may just be the next in line to crack down illegal immigrants.

California deals with immigration in its backyard

Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who live in San Francisco, are two California senators that 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. Therefore, you should take Boxer’s open-minded invitation with a dash of margarita salt. Issues on California immigration will most likely be among the big talks with the upcoming state elections.

California has the highest population in the U.S., illegal immigrant or otherwise

In California, the stakes would be tremendously high if California immigration law comes into assessment. 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.”

However, as former G.W. Bush speechwriter David Frum points out, the letter of the Arizona immigration law specifically forbids stopping anyone on the mere basis of skin color. What remains to be seen, George Will argues in the Washington Post, is whether good police officers in Arizona can aid this “worthwhile experiment in federalism” by making properly nuanced judgments 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

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from San Diego County, has called the Arizona law “a fantastic starting point,” but it is still unclear whether the upcoming California elections will take immigration as a major point of argument. The leading candidates in the California governor’s race, Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman, agree that the action needs to be done in the federal government regarding the subject.

What it may come down to is whether candidates are too afraid to lose the Latino vote. If Arizona – which is 30 percent Hispanic by some estimates – can get a majority to agree on tough immigration law, will California follow suit? According to the 2008 census, an estimated 36.6 percent of the state population was of Hispanic or Latino origin, but it is safe to guess that not all of the minority group will be politically active in the California election.

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