Discussing California’s budget crisis following voter rejection of a slew of new tax and bond initiatives, the Los Angeles Times reports: “Worst-case scenarios also call for the release from state prisons of up to 19,000 illegal immigrants, who would face deportation.” (Those 19,000 are 10% of the state’s prison population, costing $970 million a year.) Assuming that the illegal-immigrant prisoners actually do get deported, can’t see what’s worst-case about that.
In February, LA Times columnist George Skelton put a conservative estimate on the cost of California’s illegal population at well over $5 billion a year. That’s almost a quarter of the state’s $21.3 billion deficit. Might there be some connection between California’s budget woes and the costs of its illegal-immigrant population? Obviously, California has been living way beyond its means across the board, especially by caving in to fantastic government union pension demands, but the education, health-care, and criminal-justice costs of illegal immigrants and their progeny is no help in staunching the red ink, either.