Wilson Targets Illegal Immigrants


Republican Gov. Pete Wilson is airing a new 30-second television ad that says it is unfair for California taxpayers to have to pay for public schooling for illegal immigrant children. The commercial quotes his Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Kathleen Brown, out of context in attempting to portray Brown as believing that illegal immigration is not a problem.

* THE AD: An announcer declares that there are 300,000 illegal immigrant children in public schools, costing the state $1.5 billion a year, “and they keep coming.” Then Wilson says: “It’s unfair to the people who are working hard, paying taxes, educating their children, and here we are rewarding people who enter the country illegally.”

The ad continues: “Wilson wants to use the money spent on illegals to take care of California’s kids.


“Kathleen Brown thinks differently. In a major policy speech, Brown said, ‘Illegal immigration is wrongly seen as a cause of problems in California.’ Where do you stand?”

* ANALYSIS: The Wilson reelection campaign attributes the 300,000 figure to U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates of the numbers of children who came into California illegally with their parents. The $1.5-billion estimate comes from the state Department of Finance.

The Wilson commercial takes Brown’s comments out of context. Near the end of a lengthy speech at Los Angeles Town Hall last Sept. 29, after discussing the problem of illegal immigration in detail, Brown said:

“We live in times when many of our people are scared. They’re scared of losing their jobs; they’re scared of losing their health care; they’re scared their children can’t get a decent education, and they’re scared about their personal safety. Illegal immigration is wrongly seen as a cause.” Throughout the campaign, Brown has proposed ideas for reducing illegal immigration and, at the beginning of the speech, she said “illegal immigration is a problem and must be addressed in a responsible and thoughtful manner.”

Wilson and Brown have differed sharply on public education of illegal immigrants. Wilson has proposed that public schooling of illegal immigrants be phased out and generally supports Proposition 187, which would bar illegal immigrant children from schools.

Brown has said the federal government should reimburse California for the cost of services to illegal immigrants. Addressing Proposition 187 in a speech in San Francisco on Tuesday, Brown said that by denying education to the children “we will be throwing them out into the streets. What they don’t learn in school, they’ll learn in the streets. . . . And that will cost us a lot more in the end.”