SACRAMENTO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday disputed claims that illegal immigrants caused California's $24.3 billion deficit, while he praised their economic contributions and said he is "happy" they have access to services.
The Republican governor, answering wide-ranging questions from The Bee's editorial board and its readers, also vented about roadblocks to his authority posed by political foes and warned that government can't sustain the current level of "unbelievable benefits" for public-sector workers.
Answer by Anonymous at 12:48 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
In response to dozens of questions from readers who say the state ought to wipe out the deficit by eliminating services for illegal immigrants, the governor said it is a "myth" that those immigrants are to blame.
He said the cost of services to illegal immigrants, which has been estimated at $4 billion to $5 billion annually, is a "small percentage" of the deficit California faces.
"Yes, it is something that ought to be dealt with, but the fact of the matter is, I think it's an easy scapegoat for people to point the finger and say, 'Our budget is out of whack because of illegal immigrants.' "
Answer by Friday at 12:48 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
"It's not," he added. "Our budget is out of whack because we have self-inflicted wounds that the Legislature and this state has never really sat down and had the will to go and make the necessary changes that have to be made."
The governor noted that the federal government requires California to provide emergency health care and education to illegal immigrants. Schwarzenegger in 2006 renounced his 1994 vote for Proposition 187, the initiative to block most services for illegal immigrants, which courts deemed unconstitutional.
Answer by Friday at 12:49 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
"You know something, as far as I'm concerned, I'm happy that they can get the services," he said Friday. "Because I would like to have the services if I'm somewhere in another country ... if I have an accident with a motorcycle and I go to an emergency room, I don't want someone to say, is he here legally?"
Read the full story at sacbee.com
Answer by Friday at 12:50 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
I think he's on the money. Illegals are an easy scapegoat but the real problem has more to do with the way our state constitution is written. The people get to vote on every little thing and they are just not informed enough to make smart decisions about many things, especially financial matters. All they know is they want all the benefits w/o paying for them.
If you think about it he can't be re-elected to gov, can't be president and has no support from either party to run for congress so what would be the point of lying or pandering?
Answer by Friday at 12:53 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
Gee anon, thanks for the intelligent and insightful POV, you have really given us all something to think about.
Answer by Friday at 12:54 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
if I have an accident with a motorcycle and I go to an emergency room, I don't want someone to say, is he here legally?"
He is either stupid or lying.
No, we are stupid and he is lying???????????????
He is a Lib.
Answer by mustbeGRACE at 12:59 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
Answer by Anonymous at 1:01 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
Grace, what would be the point to him lying? What would he gain from it?
Answer by Friday at 1:06 PM on Jun. 6, 2009
So, should EVERY little, "something that ought to be dealt with" (A.S.)be pushed under the rug OR shouhld they be REFORMED to cut costs?
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 1:13 PM on Jun. 6, 2009