States Border Tensions Rise With Rhetoric

Steve Geissinger, Oakland Tribune, May 29

SACRAMENTO—Forecasts for the California-Mexico border this summer have risen to somewhere between sizzling and explosive, with Minuteman Project volunteers and pro-immigration activists poised to clash amid re-emerging political rhetoric and public tension.

After Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s calls for better federal border controls and praise of Minutemen patrolling the Arizona-Mexico border to report illegal immigrants, the group expects to begin similar efforts in California—a move pro-immigration demonstrators plan to counter.

A new poll shows, meanwhile, Schwarzenegger’s comments won him the Republican backing he wants, while riling the Democratic lawmakers hes already battling over the deficit-plagued state budget and government-reform measures.

In a shift since January, when Republicans named the state budget as their top concern, Republicans today put immigration at the top of their list, said Mark Baldassare, director of the independent, San Francisco-based Public Policy Institute of California poll released Thursday.

On the other hand, Baldassare said, Latinos, who are more negative than whites about all areas of the governors performance, are especially scathing in their assessment of his handling of il-legal immigration—78 percent disapprove.

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But even among Democrats and independents in general, the PPIC poll shows only slight majorities disapprove of Schwarzeneggers handling of illegal immigration.

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