posted by Debbie Pelley at Sunday, April 10, 2005
Testimony on Holt's SB 206 - Denying Benefits to Non Citizens (Illegal Aliens) It really bothers me that we can't even discuss the documented facts and information without being called bigots. We can't even use terminology from state and federal laws without being labeled bigots. For example, illegal aliens is the terminology used in federal law to refer to non citizens; but we have been told that is an ugly word. It concerns me that this inhibits free expression by intimidation. And I have been around the Legislators long enough to know if there is one thing you need, it is truthful information. And it is intimidating. I sat there through the discussion this morning and thought maybe I had better not say the things and give the documented facts I intended to because it might hurt Senator Holt's bill and be considered racism. I taught school 27 years and not one of my students or their parents would ever say I had a prejudiced bone in my body. This is not about bigotry and prejudice. But each time I testify at one of these committee meetings, I have to work up the courage, as I have had to do today, to continue to put forth the documentation I intended to even though I may be called a racist, or other names. [Note: Background for this introduction - which was not planned ahead of time. As soon as Senator Holt finished introduction of his bill and asked to bring up some Hispanics to testify for the bill, the Chair immediately went to questions from the panel. Senator Wilkins went into a tirade about the demagoguery concerning this bill and even said he saw political opportunism for Senator Holt with this bill. Among other things he said he was appalled that a senator would sign off on a blue sheet of information that was filled with racism calling these people invaders and allow it to be put on the committee's desks. He insinuated that Senator Holt had done that, but the chair pointed out that Senator Holt had not signed off on that information; that information had been laid on their desk anonymously. I, myself, had nothing to do with the blue sheet and still don't know what was on it; but I knew it could possibly contain some of the documentation that I was going to provide. However, there was real softening by Senator Wilkins when Jim responded so calmly and humbly and patiently; and there was a real difference in Wilkins' attitude for the rest of the hearing. Wilkins thanked Holt "for your calm receiving of my concerns." I think Senator Wilkins had truly thought Senator Holt was a bigot but saw that he wasn't, and they huddled and talked two or three times after this in a very frriendly manner.] As most of you know I usually work on educational issues. However, for some time now I have been getting e-mails almost daily about the illegal alien problem in our nation and in Arkansas. I skimmed a few, kept a few and deleted most of them. I knew we had a problem but had no idea how serious those problems were and I had other things I thought were more important. I was shocked when I recently learned some of the facts that those e-mails were trying to tell me. First, I was shocked to find as I researched this matter that our Medicaid budget is growing exponentially. If we are going to make cuts, surely it should first be to cut benefits to citizens of another country before cutting benefits to our own citizens. 40% of children in Arkansas are enrolled in Medicaid. Since learning that figure I have asked several people to guess the percent and only one guessed higher than 20%. Arkansas has 40% of children enrolled in Medicaid and Virginia has 21%, Texas 27%, Georgia 34% and Alabama 31%. So we are already being stretched in Medicaid benefits without adding non citizens. Arkansas is also 12th from the top on Federal Medicaid expenditures per capita so we are costing the taxpayer more per capita than 38 other states. I really don't think we should aim for number one in this category. We should be going in the other direction. The Immigration population in Arkansas has exploded in the 1990's - Arkansas experienced the 4th (and some say 2nd) largest percentage of immigrant increase in the 1990's. Thinking Arkansans realize that you reward behavior that you want to encourage. Giving benefits to illegal aliens encourages more illegal aliens to come. There are a minimum of 3,000 illegal aliens pouring over our borders daily, mostly from Mexican border. 65,000 illegal aliens, crossed one section of Arizona border last years. Between 1990 and 2000 Arkansas gained 49,0000 immigrants. That was a near tripling of the immigrant population and much higher than the 12% native born. This is a quote from the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Free medical care for illegal aliens has closed some of America's finest emergency medical facilitates, and caused hospital bankruptcies. 84 California hospitals are closing their doors. 65% of births in Los Angeles County are to illegal aliens. This Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons goes on to say that many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, like drug resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, polio, etc. Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. 95% of all outstanding murder warrants in Los Angeles involved suspected illegal aliens in 2004. In 1994 the Bureau of prison report showed that nearly one out of 4 inmates was not a US citizen - almost 25% of the prison population are non citizens. Erin Andersen, a former National Analyst for Asia and China, recently spoke here in Little Rock. She saw 200 of her colleagues burn to death on 9/11 from a parking lot. She said there is hard evidence that SIA's that sponsor terrorism are coming through the Tuscon sector of the border. There is evidence they are coming from Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, and many more. She said Al Quida has established foundations in Mexico and Canada. US Rep. Tom Tancredo who also recently spoke here in Little Rock and who vouched for Erin Andersen's comments, said people are paying 50,000 to come here. He said no one pays 50,000to work at 7-11. He said there are cells in the US made up of these people. Tancredo is Chair of the 67 member Caucus on Immigration Reform. Tancredo said when people are educated and become aware of the facts as they of necessity are in Arizona, they overwhelmingly support bills like 206. In Arizona, Tancredo said, both parties and the media were against them on Arizona Proposition 2000. They were outspent by 200 to 500 percent and yet they won by 60% of the vote and even received 47% of the Hispanic vote. Contrary to what advocates of giving benefits to illegal aliens claim Harvard Professor George Borjas estimates illegal immigration costs the U.S. 70 billion dollars per year and Californians $1,300 per household annually in additional taxes. The Center for Immigration Studies estimate that the average Mexican illegal alien will use $55,200 more in public services during his lifetime than he pays in taxes. Again rewarding people to break the law and come into our country will only be a magnet to draw more here. Arkansas is a poor state and cannot assimilate the number of non citizens we have now, much less what we will see in the future if we don't do something about it. This bill is a first step in doing something about it. I want to say one more thing. All we taxpayers are asking the legislators to do is to handle our taxpayer money like they would their personal finances. I have not seen any of you bankrupting your personal accounts in your compassion for illegal aliens. We just ask that you not bankrupt our state budget either. Thank You. Note: The committee listened very attentively and politely to my remarks with understanding and without any hostility. However, I guess I went a little too far with my last comment because the Chair let me know he didn't like this last remark and told me I should have stuck to the subject on the last comment. I thought I was sticking to the subject because the bill's goal is to stop giving state money for welfare benefits unless the illegal aliens could provide proof of citizenship. I just can't seem to fit the mold. Maybe I don't really want to.
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