Visiting Bridgeport last week, Governor Lamont celebrated newly enacted legislation he supported to require schools to provide translation services to parents who don’t speak English and to qualify more illegal immigrant children for state medical insurance, extending their eligibility age from 12 to 15.
Bridgeport is a center of illegal immigration, and the governor sounded enthusiastic about it. “These are people who are here,” the governor said. “I’m proud they’re here. They’re welcome here in our state.”
Illegal just as much as legal? The governor made no distinction.
He added, “We’ve got a job for you here in Connecticut.”
But the jobs the governor often has cited that Connecticut has been unable to fill — estimated at 100,000 — are mostly skilled manufacturing jobs. They come with good wages and medical insurance, and with education and training people can learn how to do them. But if illegal immigrants were already qualified to do them, they wouldn’t need translation services in school and state medical insurance.
Dozens of languages are said to be spoken by the families of students in Bridgeport’s schools, and the new law requires school systems to offer translators for all parental dealings with the school system, even for anyone attending a school board meeting, in addition to translation for instruction in English for children still learning the language. No one is sure how much all these translation services will cost, which may be a reason the new law is considered so wonderful.
The General Assembly does have a clue that even though illegal immigration is politically correct, a cost is incurred by facilitating it. During the legislature’s recent session there was much clamor to extend state medical insurance to illegal immigrants up to age 25 and some clamor even to extend it to all the estimated 120,000 illegal immigrants in the state. For budget reasons the extension was limited to children 15 and younger, but it will be surprising if next year’s session doesn’t extend eligibility at least to age 18.
After all, Connecticut should not be letting anyone be wracked by pain or die in the street, whatever their immigration status, and hospitals already are obliged to treat emergency cases without regard to a patient’s ability to pay. But Connecticut is long past the point at which expense and fairness to citizens and the state’s ability to assimilate foreigners over time should replace political correctness as the determinants of policy.
For if, as the governor suggests, all illegal immigrants are welcome in Connecticut, eventually to be eligible for medical insurance, income supports, education, and translation services, and to compete with ordinary citizens for housing the state doesn’t have and medical appointments sooner than six months out — thereby profoundly devaluing citizenship — by the end of the year the state might have several million more refugees from distressed places like Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Peru, and Sudan, quite apart from the people fleeing Democratic-misgoverned New York, California, and Illinois.
The governor and his party in Connecticut have gotten away with their political correctness on illegal immigration because most illegal immigrants have been crowded into Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford, already impoverished cities with many government dependents who will vote for the regime no matter how awful local living conditions get.
The schools of those cities long have been graduating students who have never mastered the basics and won’t be qualified and hired for those manufacturing jobs Connecticut can’t fill. But these uneducated graduates will provide justification for ever more members of the government class to minister to them – not just translators but also medical insurance processors, social workers, and such.
That seems to be all that matters politically – not the cost of uncontrolled immigration, the destruction of the working-class wage base, the collapse of education and living conditions in the cities, and the inability to assimilate newcomers into a common culture.
Chris Powell has written about Connecticut government and politics for many years. (CPowell@cox.net)