By Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh
I am the daughter of two Mexican immigrants who came to this country at the ages of sixteen and eighteen to seek a better life for themselves and for their future family. My parents’ immigration story is one of perseverance, sacrifice, and the American Dream. It’s a story I am proud of. It is the story of legal immigration.
My parents understood that America was a land of unmatched opportunity that would give their children a chance to succeed and thrive unlike any other place in the world. They also knew the only way to ensure we could truly take advantage of these opportunities would be if they followed the law and came to this country legally.
Unfortunately, the vast opportunity that makes California the ideal place for law abiding immigrants to pursue their own American Dream has also drawn those that do not respect our country’s laws. The majority of those that come here illegally are well meaning individuals hoping to provide a better life for their families. But this does not exempt them from the rule of law though.
A nation’s sovereignty is grounded on its right to self-determination: its right to secure and control its borders, and its’ right to grant the honor and the benefits of citizenship. But in recent years, our state leaders in Sacramento have forgotten or ignored these rights.
Former Governor Brown and Democrats in the state legislature began the assault on the sovereignty of our state and of our nation in 2017, when they passed Senate Bill 54, which establishes California as a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants and sparked a stand-off with the federal government. The bill makes it illegal for local law enforcement to cooperate with immigration authorities to enforce federal immigration laws passed by Congress. It tries to turn law enforcement officers into political pawns of the state to blatantly obstruct federal law. SB 54 also makes all Californians less safe by allowing criminals to remain in our state, preventing law enforcement from even notifying federal authorities of the immigration status of individuals they identify during investigations.
In 2019, having already done their best to turn California into a sanctuary state, Sacramento Democrats passed a package of laws intended to dilute the privileges of United States citizenship. Senate Bill 225 allows illegal immigrants to serve on state government boards and commissions, allowing those who ignore our country’s laws an opportunity to set regulations for law abiding Californians.
Democrats also forced through Senate Bill 104, which allows illegal immigrants under the age of 26 to receive taxpayer funded medical coverage under California’s Medicaid program. This puts California taxpayers on the hook for the medical care of 138,000 illegal immigrants, at a cost of nearly $100 million per year paid for by levying new taxes on Californians who struggle to afford their own healthcare. These are dollars Democrats believe are better spent on illegal immigrants than on Californians who struggle to afford quality healthcare for their families.
I have witnessed firsthand the amazing opportunity our great country and state provides immigrants to build a better life for their families and to make our nation stronger through their contributions. This opportunity is only possible when we all share a mutual respect for law and order and when we all live in a state where citizenship still holds meaning.
My parents’ goal when they came to America was not to live here in the shadows as illegal immigrants. They understood the virtue and importance of coming to this country the right way, following the laws and seeking to become full US citizens. They knew that this was the only way to ensure our family could fully benefit from the opportunity America provides. They also knew that to disregard these laws or to dishonor American citizenship would fundamentally threaten the way of life that drew them to America in the first place. Democrats in Sacramento have somehow lost sight of this.
Our elected leaders must recognize the importance of our country’s sovereign right to decide who enters our country. The open border policy that Democrats in Sacramento are pushing doesn’t just make our state less safe for all Californians: it dishonors what it means to be an American citizen.
California voters have an opportunity this year to elect legislators who will stop using law enforcement officers as political pawns in their efforts to flout federal law. They can send representatives to Sacramento who honor American citizenship and repeal laws that give the benefits of legal status to illegal immigrants. They can send a loud, clear message to Democrats in Sacramento that they stand for the American dream.