What do you think when someone says, “California”?
If you’re like most, California’s iconic images probably come to mind: Hollywood. Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. The Golden Gate Bridge. The Santa Monica Pier. The San Diego Zoo. The Beach Boys. Convertibles driving down the Pacific Coast Highway. Our mighty Redwood Forests. Silicon Valley. Rolling hills and wineries. The Rose Bowl. Our world-class universities and professional sports teams.
If so, then the California Office of Tourism has done its job. Over the past decade, Visit California has spent hundreds of millions of dollars operating a global marketing program extolling the virtues of our state.
It’s true, California has been one of the greatest places on Earth to live. The climate is nearly perfect, environmental treasures abound, and the California lifestyle is a unique piece of American culture that’s admired around the globe.
But we are here to tell you, California is not all surfers and sunshine.
The truth is, decades of mass immigration and California’s newly-minted “sanctuary” law, which legalized and standardized statewide non-cooperation between California law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities, has created a nightmare scenario for millions of Californians.
That’s why a concerned group of California environmentalists, doctors, lawyers, professors, writers, and surfers banded together in 1986 to start our organization, Californians for Population Stabilization.
They saw the California dream slipping away and, along with it, the American dream.
Here are the top 5 consequences that failed mass immigration policies have had on California:
#1 — California’s “sanctuary state” status has made it a magnet for illegal immigration.
It all began in 1971, when Berkeley, California became the first “sanctuary city” in the United States. By 1989, San Francisco declared itself a sanctuary city, and numerous cities and counties followed suit from 2013 to 2016, until Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 54, California’s state “sanctuary law,” into effect in 2017.
During that same period, Congress passed seven nationwide amnesties. It was the perfect storm and the message became clear for illegal aliens: seek refuge in California and wait it out until the next amnesty.
California now has an estimated three million illegal aliens, the largest population of illegal aliens of any U.S. state. And, this doesn’t factor in the millions of immigrants who received amnesty and brought their relatives to California in the last 30 years. We call that chain migration.
If you think the surge of illegal aliens at the border is a coincidence, think again. Sanctuary states like California have become a magnet for illegal immigration.
#2 — Decades of mass immigration and government mismanagement are making Americans want to leave California
Since the first Earth Day in 1970, California’s population has doubled to 40 million, an increase equivalent to adding the entire populations of Ireland, Costa Rica, Norway, and Uruguay to the state. Yet California has seen more than 15 consecutive years of net resident losses to other states.
So, what’s going on? Most Californians already know the answer.
Nearly all of California’s population growth in recent decades has resulted from immigration. In fact, by 2017, California had 10.6 million immigrants, which is the largest immigrant population of any state, more than Texas and New York combined.
And what’s the result of decades of mass immigration and government mismanagement? The worst housing crisis in the nation. Increasing pollution and crumbling infrastructure. And a state-wide law that gives sanctuary to criminal illegal aliens and has created a magnet for illegal immigration.
As a result, families are looking at the costs and benefits of living in California and leaving for more stable places like Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.
#3 — Legal and illegal immigration are harming California’s fragile ecosystems and environment.
Environmental degradation and mountains of trash along our southern border are welldocumented. But it’s not just illegal immigration which is harming California’s fragile ecosystems.
The bigger culprit behind California’s environmental crisis is mass immigration. Over the last forty years, more than 20 million people have flooded into California, and the environmental effects are everywhere you look. Deforestation, urban development, and industrial farming are the new normal in California.
The surging demand for housing fueled by this population growth has driven residents into the urban-wildlife interface, making California’s wildfires costlier and deadlier than anyone could have imagined.
The watchdog organization, Open the Books, has been tracking reports of human waste in San Francisco. They’ve even created an interactive map to visualize the problem.
Smog and air pollution have made California home to 7 out of 10 of the country’s most polluted cities in America.
California’s natural wonders are treasures that ought not to be abused, squandered, or lost all together.
#4 — Illegal aliens (and sanctuaries that harbor them) overwhelm public services
Cities that open up their doors to illegal aliens who have not paid into the system are overwhelming our public services. According to a recent study, Illegal immigration costs California taxpayers an estimated $25 billion annually. Some of the largest drivers of costs for public services are related to healthcare: hospital visits, emergency room costs, children’s services, etc.
Unfortunately, California’s newly elected governor, Gavin Newsom, is not taking seriously the billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities that subsidized government programs for illegal aliens has brought to California.
The Washington Times explains why Governor Newsom touted the proposal shortly after taking office. “Newly sworn-in California Gov. Gavin Newsom, vowing to provide “sanctuary to all who seek it,” has proposed extending state health care coverage to more illegal immigrants livingwithin the Golden State’s borders.
Los Angeles, renowned for being a sanctuary city, has an epidemic of homeless people. According to a recent report, the homeless population of L.A. has swelled to 58,000, a 46% increase from 2013 to 2017.
Our state is home to approximately 25% of all homeless veterans in the United States. We can’t take care of veterans and the most vulnerable in our midst, but California’s politicians continually sink billions of dollars into public services for illegal aliens. It doesn’t make sense.
#5 — Sanctuary policies are putting Californians in the crosshairs of criminals.
Ron Martinelli, a San Jose native and nationally renowned forensic criminologist and law enforcement expert, recently wrote an op-ed in The Hill, noting that, “according to research and statistics by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, U.S. taxpayers are footing an annual bill of nearly $19 million a day to house and care for an estimated 300,000 to 450,000 convicted criminal immigrants who are eligible for deportation and are currently residing in local jails and state and federal prisons across the country.”
Illegal aliens are responsible for a disproportionate amount of violent crime in the U.S., but crime statistics for illegal aliens in sanctuaries are deliberately opaque, due to a lack of proper reporting. After all, the crux of sanctuary policies is to NOT report criminal illegal aliens to federal law enforcement officials.
And don’t forget about America’s “Angel Families” who have had their lives destroyed by criminal illegal aliens benefitting from sanctuary policies. “Angel Families” are the mother, fathers, and family members of U.S. citizens killed by illegal immigrants.
For example, Kate Steinle was shot and killed in San Francisco when police ignored an immigration detainer request for an illegal immigrant who had seven felony convictions and had been deported five times. Drew Rosenberg was also in San Francisco when he was killed by an unlicensed driver who was an illegal immigrant.
Since January 2014, there have been 10,000 criminal aliens who were released by sanctuaries and who were then subsequently arrested for additional crimes. “Angel Families” are speaking up about the dangers of sanctuary cities and the dangers they invite.
Conclusion: Don’t let the California Dream become an American Nightmare
For many, California is still a highly desirable place to live. But decades of mass immigration and sanctuary policies have meant more pollution, more degradation of our environmental treasures, more traffic, overcrowded schools, longer waits at the emergency room, lower wages, and cities that openly give sanctuary to illegal alien criminals.
Other countries have made smart changes to their immigration policies years ago. Yet today, America continues to allow more people to settle here every year than all the immigration of England, Germany, France and Canada, combined.
These problems will be coming to your city, county, or state before you know it.
It is time our leaders updated their old way of thinking about immigration policy, so immigration can once again become a positive force in America.
And don’t say we didn’t warn you: the California dream is becoming an American nightmare.
Ric Oberlink, is the Executive Director for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to formulate and advance policies designed to stabilize the population of California, the U.S., and the world at levels that will preserve the environment and a good quality of life for all.