Proposed Ballot Measure Would Cut Benefits for Undocumented Residents
A group of advocates are pushing for a California ballot initiative that would cut off state health services and other public benefits for undocumented immigrants, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The advocates, led by Ted Hilton of Taxpayer Revolution, have begun collecting the 488,000 signatures necessary to include the measure in the June 2010 election.
Hilton said the group already has raised about $350,000 for their cause. Typically, advocacy groups shell out about $4 million to put an initiative on the ballot.
Costs of State Services for Undocumented Immigrants
California's 2.7 million undocumented immigrants account for about $4 billion to $6 billion of the state's $105 billion budget (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 7/13).
In fiscal year 2009-2010, the state is expected to pay $703 million in health care costs for as many as 780,000 undocumented immigrants.
Of those funds, roughly $486 million will go to emergency services. Federal law requires emergency departments to treat all patients, regardless of citizenship status (California Healthline, 7/10).
California law also allows undocumented immigrants to receive some types of nonemergency care.
Prospects for Ballot Initiative
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office says ending public services for undocumented immigrants could reduce state spending by more than $1 billion annually, if the measure survives legal challenges.
Peter Schey, an attorney who challenged a similar proposition in 1994, said courts likely will strike down the measure (Los Angeles Times, 7/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.