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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 1970

    AZ Prop 200 confusion causes drop in services

    Prop. 200 confusion being lamented
    Participation drop seen in services not affected by new law

    By Mary Vandeveire
    April 4, 2005

    Students at Roberts Elementary School are earning higher marks, and some of the credit goes to immigrant parents who learned English to help their kids study at home, said Marcos Quijada, the school's principal.

    But Quijada and his colleagues wonder whether the trend will continue as Proposition 200 takes hold in Tucson and the rest of the state.

    The law denying certain public services such as state-funded wage subsidies for undocumented immigrants was passed by Arizona voters in November and has been in effect about three months.

    While no firm numbers were given, workers at the Pima County Health Department, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic and Tucson schools say they are seeing evidence of a dropoff in participation in programs such as literacy training, food stamps and medical services that they believe is tied to confusion about Proposition 200.

    Roberts, 4355 E. Calle Aurora, with a student population that is 80 percent Hispanic, offers adult literacy classes at its school through Literacy Volunteers of Tucson. But this year, enrollment in the classes has dropped significantly, Quijada said.

    "We attribute that to Prop. 200. There's a lot of fear," Quijada said. "It works against what we're trying to do at Roberts."

    Workers at schools and community services groups in Tucson said Proposition 200 has hurt families and households headed by immigrants. The impact has mostly been indirect: Families are staying away from services unaffected by the law because they are afraid they will be harassed, lose their immigration documents or get picked up by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

    Supporters of Proposition 200 say the initiative was strongly supported by immigrants who are in the country legally.

    "I don't believe people that are in this country legally have anything to be afraid of, and I don't believe they are afraid," said Kathy McKee, a Glendale resident who crafted the initiative.

    "The point wasn't to instill a fear factor in people, but it is to get our laws enforced, and if they are breaking our laws, that's a decision they make," McKee said.

    The fears, unfounded or not, are having a real impact in Tucson, said Sandie Lujan, family advocate at Tucson Community Food Bank. Many of the food bank's clients are undocumented, Lujan said.

    To "at least 10 families in the last month, I've said, 'You need to apply for food stamps because your children were born in the U.S.' And they said, 'No, we heard Border Patrol picked up somebody,' " Lujan said.

    Lujan said there's a story now going around the immigrant community that parents of U.S.-born kids were apprehended while applying for food stamps at a Department of Economic Security office in Midtown Tucson. Lujan added she hasn't been able to confirm whether the story is true, but since Proposition 200 passed, many people may be applying the law incorrectly, she said.

    "Whenever I talk to people, I say that could be a possibility, not because it's the law. You get people who don't understand the law," Lujan said.

    Liz Barker, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Economic Security, said the story was inaccurate. The office doesn't have a process in place to call the U.S. Border Patrol on any individual, she said. In addition, the food stamps program is not subject to Proposition 200, Barker said.

    The Pima County Health Department's Women Infants and Children program saw a drop in its enrollment after Proposition 200 passed, said Patti Woodcock, the department's director of community relations. The department is doing outreach to clarify that Proposition 200 did not affect eligibility for WIC, providing assistance to young families. Woodcock said WIC enrollment numbers are slowly climbing again.

    "I just feel that Prop. 200 is not understood by the public," said Maria Elena Acuña, associate director of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic. "It's actually affecting people who do have resident status. They work; they pay taxes. They're afraid their residency status is going to be taken away from them."

    The St. Elizabeth clinic, which takes care of the uninsured, has seen a decline in clients, Acuña said.

    A woman who was five months pregnant came into the clinic recently to get care. She's in the country on a student visa, Acuña said. "She didn't want to come. She hasn't had prenatal care," Acuña said.

    Monique Soria, spokeswoman for the Sunnyside Unified School District, said district enrollment hasn't declined since Proposition 200 took effect, but there has been confusion.

    "Throughout the district, they've been getting questions from parents, questions like, 'Should I be keeping my child home from school?' " Soria said.

    Raymond Rodriguez, a Pima County Interfaith Council leader, said churches are bringing immigrant members together to talk about instances in which they may have been denied services or felt intimidated. "Fear has caused people to step back and not come forward with needs that they have," he said. "We need to educate ourselves about what is happening."

    McKee said fear is a problem created by undocumented immigrants themselves, rather than Proposition 200.

    "If people are in this country illegally, they're not entitled to a fear-free life. They should fear being deported," McKee said.


    â—? The Arizona Department of Economic Security has determined that Proposition 200 applies to the following services offered through the department: general assistance under the department's family assistance administration, sight conservation, neighbors helping neighbors, and utility repair, replacement and deposit assistance.

    â—? State workers can demand proof of legal status from people applying for state welfare benefits and are required to report illegal residents to immigration authorities, or risk jail time and a fine, according to a ruling by U.S. District Judge David Bury in December.

    â—? Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard in November issued an opinion that Proposition 200 applies only to welfare programs under Title 46 of Arizona State Statutes. The office still needs to research these programs to answer questions such as whether there are federal laws that would exempt any of these programs from Proposition 200, said Andrea Esquer, spokeswoman for the office. Title 46 programs include: out-of-wedlock pregnancy prevention, services such as transportation enabling older Arizonans to maintain independent lives, a program guaranteeing choice in eye-care provider for services funded by the state and the Arizona Works program, which subsidizes employee wages with state funds.


    â—? Proposition 200 does not affect medical services offered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. AHCCCS does not share information with immigration authorities.

    â—? AHCCCS pays for emergency medical services for some undocumented immigrants if they meet eligibility criteria. This includes children under age 19 and some adults, but only when the emergency is a life-threatening situation. Medical professionals such as doctors or dentists should not ask for proof of citizenship for you or your family.

    â—? Proposition 200 does not apply to food stamps, temporary assistance to needy families and public-health immunizations, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

    â—? Federal law allows certain benefits for everyone, regardless of legal residency, including a public education and emergency medical care.

    â—? Goddard in February blocked a provision of Proposition 200 that required people to present identification before they could vote. Goddard said voters do not need to present identification. Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed legislation Friday that would have barred some people who show up at the polls without identification from voting.
    "This country has lost control of its borders. And no country can sustain that kind of position." .... Ronald Reagan

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Under Prop 200, as the demand for services declines, the need for high priced employees who deliver the services also should decline. Right? Riiiiight!
    '58 Airedale

  3. #3
    HonestConservative's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom2
    Under Prop 200, as the demand for services declines, the need for high priced employees who deliver the services also should decline. Right? Riiiiight!
    What a concept! Smaller government causes smaller government.

    Did you catch the part about wage subsidies for illegals? No ID needed to vote? How obvious is the motivation of the gov't or is it just me.

    Go Minutemen!

  4. #4
    HonestConservative's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom2
    Under Prop 200, as the demand for services declines, the need for high priced employees who deliver the services also should decline. Right? Riiiiight!

    Barry G. must be rolling over in his grave.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dman1200's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    South Carolina
    Prop 200 is causing fear in the invader community? GOOD! That's what I want to hear. That's exactly as it should be. Criminals should be afraid. They should be kept in the shadows where they belong. It's called consquences for their illegal behavior. What part of that do OBL advocates not understand?
    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here

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