California’s budget – if you haven’t heard! – is in a state of severe crisis. The political implications of this are manifold. The dominating conversation has been, up to this point, centered on social services and deep cuts. Of course, many on the right delight in the opportunity to gut public trusts like education and the left is quick to bemoan increasing the hardships of the poorest among us as a result of the deficit.
One political movement, however, is setting up to take a play out of the scapegoating history book of this nation and use the budget crisis as an opportunity to advance xenophobic aims. As evidenced by an article in today’s Los Angeles Times, anti-immigrant groups in the state are readying a ballot initiative for next year’s election to “end state benefits for illegal immigrants and their U.S. born [my note: Citizen!] children.”
Barbara Coe, a leader of the OC based California Coalition for Immigrant Reform was interviewed for the piece and, always quotable, said that the presence of undocumented immigrants and their children is “invasion by birth canal.” Too bad Diego Rivera isn’t around to paint that mural! Hoping to exorcise the demons of Prop 187, the anti-immigrant groups are hoping their new initiative effort is more legally sound and will avoid being struck down in the courts.
The prongs of the new attack are varied. Of course, whatever existing channels for undocumented immigrants to access state and local benefits would be shut off if this effort should come to pass. However, with groups like the CCIR, this time it’s all about the children! The initiative in question features provisions aimed at what the anti-immigrant movement loves to term “anchor babies.” Infuriated by the legal status of children born in the U.S. of undocumented parents, they have crafted a legal argument stating that such children are not entitled to citizenship under the 14th amendment!
The budget is a mess and the wave of xenophobia is coming. I say we become proactive and recruit Rosie Hamlin of “Rosie and the Originals” to record an anthem against this hatefulness taking a playful note from her timeless hit and rechristening it “Anchor Baby!”