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Second Opinion / COMMENTARY FROM OTHER MEDIA : LA OPINION : Wilson on Immigrants: It's Politics, not Policy

August 30, 1993| La Opinion is a daily Spanish-language newspaper published in Los Angeles. Translated by Kevin Baxter.

With only 15% of Californians approving of his performance, Gov. Pete Wilson once again looked to an old trick, inciting xenophobia, as the best way to improve his possibilities of reelection. This is much easier than improving his adminstration or providing the leadership necessary to get California off the ground. Californians deserve more respect. It would be lamentable if they were persuaded by this rhetoric that is simplistic--but divisive and prejudiced--from a government in trouble.

Attributing to undocumented immigrants the responsibility for the economic problems of California is an act of intellectual dishonesty. The governor's diagnosis is totally mistaken, and this impedes the development of strategies and the leadership needed for the state's recuperation.

It's doubtful, however, that a man with the capacity and preparation of Wilson could ignore the true reasons for the difficulties that California is experiencing. The prolonged drought that let up just this past winter after seven long years; the contraction of the defense industry due to the end of the Cold War; the exodus of businesses; the recession that has affected the country; and the unemployment caused by the problems just mentioned are some of the causes cited by the experts of the UCLA school of business administration in its study of the economy of California, dated September, 1992. It's obvious that the undocumented (couldn't be) such a big factor in the economic depression.

On the contrary, the undocumented make up an extremely vulnerable group who work cheaply, spend money and pay taxes. Their natural vulnerability makes them ideal targets for exploitation.

That Wilson has pretended to ride the theme of immigration has not hidden his obvious intentions to benefit politically and elude the responsibility to provide adequate strategies for the economic problems of the state.

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