REMARKS by Linda Chavez, director of the Center for the...

salmagundi

November 28, 1994

REMARKS by Linda Chavez, director of the Center for the New American Community of the Manhattan Institute, and the 1986 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Maryland:

"I think it would be simplistic and wrong to describe the vote in California this month on Prop 187 as simply the result of some nativist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant backlash.

"It was clearly much more than that.

"Californians were angry, and indeed, that anger, when it comes to immigration, has shown a surprisingly contagious fervor. The question is why Californians and, indeed, Americans in general have so dramatically turned in their attitudes toward immigration.

"I suggest the mixture of immigration and entitlements has become too volatile to handle. In the post-affirmative action welfare state, anxieties rise when taxpayers are told that not only must they willingly accommodate immigrants, but they must also pay for their entitlements.

"Immigrant advocates over the last 25 years have pushed an agenda of multi-culturalism in the schools, of affirmative action not just for indigenous minorities but also for newcomers from other countries, and a host of various welfare entitlements for all persons who reside [here].

"And it is, I believe, that aggressive push for immigrant entitlements that has helped fuel the backlash in states like California. Unless we are willing to deal with the legitimate concerns that are aroused by this volatile issue, I think we may face a tide not just of anti-illegal immigration fervor in the United States, but also unwise proposals to begin to limit legal immigration."

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