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Gallegly to Join Suit Over Immigration

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) and a nonprofit legal group will join California’s lawsuit that would force the federal government to bear the cost of illegal immigration.

Gallegly, chairman of the House Task Force on Immigration Reform, 35 other California lawmakers and the Washington Legal Foundation plan to file papers to join the suit today in a federal court in San Diego. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13.

“I do not want to see this (lawsuit) as a substitute for the federal government to stop its efforts to deal with the issue of eliminating the unchecked flow of illegal immigration,” Gallegly said at a news conference Thursday. “Rather than arguing who pays for it, I would rather see us doing something to stop it.”

The Legal Foundation, which describes itself as a public interest law-and-policy center, often joins suits in support of law enforcement, victims’ rights and taxpayer interests.

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Illegal immigration is a matter of taxpayer interest, according to Gallegly, who cited statistics from Los Angeles County’s public hospitals.

"(In) over two-thirds of all the births that take place at the indigent hospitals, . . . the mother has no legal right to be in the United States,” he said.

The Legal Foundation estimates illegal immigration cost California $1.3 billion in 1993 and 1994.

In joining the suit, the Legal Foundation, Gallegly and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein are offering a legal brief supporting Gov. Pete Wilson’s 1994 lawsuit against the federal government.

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The Legal Foundation joined a similar case involving the state of Florida against the United States last July. A judge has since ruled in the federal government’s favor, but the Legal Foundation is working with Florida Gov. Lawton M. Chiles on an appeal.


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