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Targeting immigrant rights and the budget
Attack of the Govenator

By Sarah Knopp and Arturo Sernas | December 12, 2003 | Page 2

CALIFORNIA'S NEW governor has lost no time in advancing schemes that will wreak havoc on anyone in the state who isn't white and rich.

But Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't working alone. He's had a little help not only from fellow Republicans, but from Democrats as well.

At the beginning of December, Schwarzenegger said he intended to repeal legislation that granted undocumented immigrants the right to get a drivers' license. When the state legislature passed the bill last year, then-Gov. Gray Davis vetoed it. But faced with the prospect of a recall election that eventually removed him and put Schwarzenegger in office, Davis signed the legislation into law in a cynical attempt to build support among Latinos.

Schwarzenegger campaigned on the promise to repeal the bill. But last week, the state legislature accommodated Governor Groper--by voting to overturn the law themselves.

In the state senate, not a single Democrat voted to keep the measure. Only nine Democrats in the entire state assembly voted in favor of maintaining this basic right for undocumented workers, who contribute enormously to the state economy, but are effectively denied the right to drive a car.

Democrats did stand up to Schwarzenegger on his proposed budget. In fact, lawmakers from both parties voted to reject the Governator's budget scam, which called for instituting a strict spending cap. Critics pointed out that the cap would cut $2 billion from vital social programs like higher education and the state Medi-Cal health program.

Schwarzenegger said that he would "go only so far in cutting social programs," promising, for example, to "not eliminate dog food for seeing-eye dogs," the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Despite such promises, Schwarzenegger's proposal went after two areas that he had said during his campaign were off limits: education and health care for the disabled.

Untouched, on the other hand, was the bloated state prison system, which has a budget of $5 billion. The Schwarzenegger budget provoked outrage among many people and sparked demonstrations.

Likewise, immigrant rights activists are planning to protest the overturning of the drivers' license legislation. The Mexican-American Political Organization and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana have called for a one-day economic boycott on December 12--to show the politicians what the state would look like without the work done by immigrants.

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