Will California declare state-level immigration amnesty? (Opportunity and Prosperity Act, illegal aliens)
No, California won't be declaring its own, state-level amnesty for illegal aliens. While Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes and others are trying to put an initiative on the ballot ("California Opportunity and Prosperity Act") that would attempt to declare such an amnesty (link), such an initiative has nearly zero chance of passing.
1. Fuentes' plan would be an initiative. That means that he first has to collect 504,760 signatures to get it on the ballot, then a majority of voters would have to approve it. Both are very high hurdles to clear, and both require large amounts of money.
2. The plan is designed as a replacement for comprehensive immigration reform and uses some of the provisions associated with CIR: [it] would apply to illegal immigrants who have lived in California for four years, have no felony convictions, are not suspected terrorists, pay a fee to administer the program, and can speak English or are learning it. See the preceding link for extensive coverage of CIR and the many problems associated with it.
3. While the plan has little chance of passing, California isn't out of the woods just yet. Three or four decades ago, no one would think of such an initiative, much less present it as a real proposal. Now Fuentes can present it as a real proposal, even if it has little chance of being approved by the voters. In coming years, the chances that such a proposal would be approved will increase. Maybe a decade or two from now at least parts of the southern part of California might become a "Chicano Quebec". And, all of that is due to massive immigration. All of those who've allowed that massive immigration have played a role in giving political power to those like Fuentes (and to Antonio Villaraigosa, Gil Cedillo, Fabian Nunez, and many more).
4. This story will be presented by many rightwingers as just another California thing, when it isn't. Even many liberals might be opposed to the scheme, and more would be opposed if it were presented to them in the correct fashion.
5. Moreover, California isn't the first state to propose such an idea. That honor belongs to the reddest state of them all: Utah. Fuentes' plan is similar to Utah's guest worker plan, the one signed off on by their Republican governor. Utah faces the same problem California does: both would need the Department of Homeland Security to not do immigration enforcement against those in the program. There have been conflicting reports about the federal government's stance on the Utah plan. Rest assured that the Obama administration morally supports such plans, the question they have is whether they can get away with it especially after suing Arizona and other states for attempting to go in the opposite direction on immigration enforcement.
6. Note the fiscal conservative-friendly language associated with Fuentes' plan: it's got "Prosperity" in the title just as Americans for Prosperity does. And, the following could have been said by Dick Armey or hundreds of others in the "Profits at Any Price" club:
Fuentes called the measure a "moderate, common-sense approach" necessitated by the federal government's inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform... Supporters say the initiative could generate up to $325 million in new tax revenue from undocumented workers that could assist education, public safety and other state programs.
7. This story will give the pretend-patriots in the tea parties sphere yet another chance to turn their backs on Americans. For examples, see many of the comments on the HotAir thread about Fuentes' plan (link):
* I wonder if a state can be stripped of its statehood, cause California sure needs it.
* Time for America to deport the CA government.
* California is planning on leaving the union? Hasta la vista, baby!
* I’m sure that California will enjoy its new status as Greece without the Parthenon.
* Personally, I won’t invest a plug nickel in the State. because California burdens the entire nation.
Those and many others might want to consider the major role that George W Bush and many other Republicans played and still play in allowing massive illegal immigration. The Koch family is involved in not just the Tea Party movement, but they also fund loose borders advocates like Reason Magazine. Dick Armey of FreedomWorks is a main Tea Party stringpuller, and he also supports illegal immigration. Fiscal conservative icon Grover Norquist sat side-by-side with leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Council of La Raza and promoted amnesty. Fiscal conservative hero Rep. Jeff Flake authored an amnesty bill with far-left racial power advocate Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
The list of fiscal conservative leaders who support "business-friendly" immigration policies is long, and they compound that by ignoring the impacts of their policies. Then, the useful idiots for those leaders - the teapartiers and the like - compound that by turning their backs on the millions of Americans negatively impacted by their leaders' policies. Even if they wanted to, those teapartiers aren't competent enough to correctly oppose people like Fuentes or help those who can.