Skip to comments.CA: State border police campaign swings into high gear
Posted on 09/04/2005 8:32:24 PM PDT by calcowgirl
With the arrival of Labor Day, a campaign to put an initiative on the ballot to create the first state border police in the nation is gearing up for a show of force.
Volunteers are hitting the streets across California to start gathering the nearly 600,000 signatures of registered voters that will be required by Dec. 12 to put the measure on the June 2006 ballot.
George Andrews, executive director for the California Border Police Initiative in Sacramento, said campaign organizers are determined to make a big splash of ink over the holiday weekend.
"That's when a lot of families and friends come over and when there are a lot of local community events," Andrews said. "It is a great time to gather signatures."
The proposed initiative is the brainchild of Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta, who says he is fed up with the droves of people hopping the international border and entering the United States from Mexico illegally. Estimates suggest as many as 10 million people are in the United States illegally, 3 million of them in California.
"We have a significant problem with illegal immigrants," Haynes said. "The federal government is not protecting our border and I am tired of whining about Washington not doing its job. So it's time that we stop whining and protect the border ourselves."
Haynes is proposing to create a state border force of 2,000 to 3,000 agents that would operate on an annual budget ranging from $200 million to $300 million. If passed by voters, the agency could be up and running by the end of next year, he said.
The border police would be a state law enforcement agency designed to assist the Border Patrol, which is a federal agency, in enforcing immigration laws. According to the initiative, officers would be empowered to make arrests and would then transfer the suspects to federal immigration authorities. The state would then seek reimbursement from the federal government for the cost of arresting and detaining the suspect.
Haynes maintains state agents would not step on too many toes of U.S. Border Patrol officers while watching the same border along the southern boundary of San Diego and Imperial counties.
"The confusion wouldn't be that great," he said. "They could work it out. Actually, police organizations figure out how to work with each other pretty well."
Haynes suggested coordination would be no more difficult for border agents than it is for county sheriff's deputies and city police officers patrolling areas along city boundaries. Haynes said the biggest challenge will be getting enough signatures.
"We get it on the ballot, it passes," he said, saying private surveys suggest public support is running in the 75 percent range.
"It's through the roof," Haynes said. "It's popular across the board."
Jack Orr, a GOP political consultant in North San Diego County, said there is so much discontent among Californians of all stripes with the inability to control the flow of immigrants into this country that making the December deadline will not be difficult.
"He can get 600,000 signatures so easily," Orr said. "He can get it in a weekend because of the prevalent attitude of Republicans, Democrats and independents. (Support for the concept) crosses all party lines, and people are signing up left and right because they all believe something needs to be done."
As of Friday afternoon, Andrews said he did not know how many signatures have been obtained so far, but petition signing is brisk.
"The people of California have been waiting for something like this," Andrews said. "I'm just very, very surprised at the overwhelming response we are getting. The enthusiasm is on a par with the recall (of former Gov. Gray Davis) and Prop. 13, in terms of grass-roots support."
Supporters were given the green light to hit the streets in search of signatures on July 18 by the state attorney general.
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said the campaign likely will need 900,000 names, if not 1 million, to qualify. To get that many, Bebitch Jeffe said, supporters will need to pay people to collect a significant chunk of the required signatures; relying on volunteers won't be enough. She said paid gatherers require anywhere from $1 to $3 per name.
It is too early to gauge the measure's chances of passing, she said. A lot will depend on who runs for party nominations for which offices in June 2006.
Generally speaking, the people voting in a primary are more conservative than in a general election, and a more conservative electorate could boost the measure's chances, Bebitch Jeffe said. Many factors could influence that, though, such as whether Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will face a serious challenger in the Republican primary. If he does not, many GOP voters could stay home, she said.
"It's really sort of a crapshoot at this point in time," she said.
Haynes said the campaign has raised $230,000. He said the money is being used in large part to send mailers to potential donors, who could pump significant amounts of cash into the campaign and put paid circulators on the street.
For now, Andrews said, the campaign is relying exclusively on volunteers.
One is Robin Hvidston of Upland, who directed a drive-through signature gathering booth in Murrieta in front of the bowling alley on California Oaks Road in Murrieta on Aug. 27. At that effort, volunteers collected more than 100 signatures, she said.
Hvidston participated in the Minuteman Project, watching the border with other activists in Arizona in April and took part in a similar effort in eastern San Diego County in July.
"We are particularly excited about the border police initiative," she said. "We are hoping that it will take our border job away from us."
Obtain petitions here: http://www.calborderpolice.com/petitions/
If the state, county or private citizens start showing success at stopping illegal boarder crossing look for Bush
and Congress to try and stop it. You watch, if they get
state boarder cops the Fed's will shut them down in a second.
Or the courts, via interstate commerce.
Oh yea, I forgot. The courts in this instance would be federal.
9th Circus will shut it down like it does everything else the people want.
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