Proponents of a plan to create the nation’s first state border police have received approval to start collecting signatures to put it on the ballot.
They have until Dec. 12 to collect the 598,105 signatures they need to place the measure before voters in June.
The proposed initiative would establish a statewide police force that would enforce federal immigration laws and would amend the California Constitution to ensure funding to cover the agency’s estimated $250 million annual price tag.
The plan could save the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars on public services, but the impact on the state economy could cost the same amount, according to a summary by the state legislative analyst and finance director.
Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Temecula, the plan’s proponent, said the federal government is failing to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants into the country and into California in particular. He estimated that about 3 million illegal immigrants live in California.
“The federal government isn’t doing the job. Since California pays a disproportionate share of the cost of illegal immigration, we have to do something about it,” Haynes said.
The proposed agency, the California Border Police, would arrest and detain suspected illegal immigrants at the border and also would provide interior enforcement of immigration laws, he said.
A bill to create the police agency, also introduced by Haynes, died in an Assembly committee in June.