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Regulating Immigration

May 22, 1993

Naturally, I strongly disagree with "Race-Baiting in Sacramento" (by Frank Acosta and Bong Hwan Kim, Commentary, May 4). Obviously, as professional spokesmen of immigrant groups, they feel they must cry with alarm over what they perceive as "intolerance against anyone who looks or sounds foreign." They self-righteously categorize all attempts to legislatively comply with federal law as an intent to "stigmatize all undocumented immigrants and, by implication, the immigrant community as a whole, as detriments, parasites, even criminals." How sad, but how typical.

Let me explain to these professional representatives of immigrant groups. Federal law forbids illegal entry into the country and says that anyone who hires an individual who is here illegally has broken the law and will suffer a penalty.

My bill, SB 733, merely attempts to follow that federal law. It requires publicly and privately operated job centers to first verify a prospective client's legal status before providing him or her with job placement or employee training services. Such proof would include a Social Security card, immigration visa, birth certificate, passport, or other document that can provide evidence of a person's legal residence or authorization to work in the U.S.

SB 733 also requires these job centers to post in a prominent location a notice stating that only citizens or those persons legally authorized to work in the U.S. will be permitted to use the job center's employment services.

Recognizing that California's jobless rate hovers around 9.5%, I believe that a job center should first ensure that a prospective job client is indeed a legal U.S. resident, rather than simply spend taxpayer's dollars to help illegal aliens find employment--many times at the expense of job seekers who are legal residents.

Acosta and Kim allege that SB 733 invites "discrimination against legal residents and citizens" in their efforts to obtain job center services. That is simply not true. Under SB 733, everyone would be required to present proof of legal status when seeking these job services. What's discriminatory about that?

Federal law prohibits illegal immigration and the employment of illegal immigrants in the United States. If Acosta and Kim feel that illegal aliens are unduly burdened by this law, then they have the right to petition Congress and the President to repeal it. But until that happens, I think the Legislature has a duty to California's legal residents and work force to uphold the intent and integrity of this federal law. SB 733 furthers this purpose.

NEWTON R. RUSSELL, State Senate, R-Glendale

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