Just when you think California has finally done it all, they come up with something new to add to their mix of reckless lawlessness. Not content with being a sanctuary state or trying to order private citizens and businesses to possibly obstruct federal immigration enforcement, now they want to let illegal aliens serve in public office.
On May 1, California State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced Senate Bill (SB) 174, ridiculously named the “California Inclusion Act.” The bill makes anyone “regardless of citizenship or immigration status, … eligible to hold an appointed civil office if the person is 18 years of age and a resident of the state.” This would have the effect of opening up thousands, probably even tens of thousands, of appointed positions in state and local agencies, boards and commissions to illegal aliens.
Under Senator Lara’s bill, as long as a job is appointed rather than elected, and civil rather than military, illegal aliens would no longer be barred from being appointed. Secretaries of whole statewide departments? Criminal prosecutors in the Attorney General’s or local District Attorney’s office? The whole state parole board? Any city or county board? All no problem: suddenly wide open to illegal aliens at the stroke of a pen.
Could the state or local governments pay them, too? Knowingly employing illegal aliens is a federal crime: the law authorizes penalties of up to six months’ imprisonment and a $3000 fine for each alien involved [emphasis added], and notably doesn’t make any exceptions for state or local government employment. But would that matter?
First, the U.S. Department of Justice would have to actually decide to charge the employers criminally, itself an open question. But even if they did, state officials would then likely make some absurd argument (yet again) about how the Tenth Amendment allows them to defy federal law. While this would turn the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution on its head, the ever-creative Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals might happily agree with it. Senator Lara, of course, already says that at least illegal-alien “DACA” recipients would be eligible for pay under his bill, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to wind up that program, and despite multiple courts now having ruled that DACA recipients actually aren’t “lawfully present.”
Serving in public office means exercising sovereignty. It means taking decisions to enforce and impose the potentially heavy-handed power of government on other people, citizens and non-citizens alike. It’s part of why we limit serving on juries to citizens (although California has had its issues with that, too). The California Government Code even still, perhaps surprisingly, defines “the people” within the meaning of state law as only including citizens. But SB 174 is one more step in the direction of making the meaning of the word “citizenship” in California mean nothing. In California’s upside-down world, American citizenship might already fairly be called a detriment, while it’s the illegal aliens who are the ones shrouded in all sorts of benefits and privileges, and now, with this bill, they could effectively be ruling over citizens.
SB 174 specifically says it doesn’t make illegal aliens eligible for elected office, but at this rate, it’s not much of a stretch to see that coming next.
The situation is now disturbingly easy to sum up: “California Can’t Stop Passing Laws To Shield Illegal Aliens.” But overreach always provokes a response, and at some point, hopefully even the people of California will decide they’ve had enough with this kind of foolishness.