Mention the word “wall” these days and most people think about the partially built structure on the southern border of the U.S.
That wall is intended to regulate the flood of immigrants currently headed for the U.S. from Central America and Mexico.
But there’s another wave of immigrants that isn’t getting near enough attention. They aren’t fleeing Mexico. They’re running away from California. And they need to be stopped before they get to me.
Among them is tech titan Elon Musk, whose Tesla auto company has just opened a manufacturing plant near Austin, Texas. Mr. Musk now calls the Lone Star State home.
Most believe Musk — and loads of others — moved to avoid California’s ultra-high taxes.
Other popular destinations for California refugees are Florida and Tennessee, neither of which have a state income tax. That’s a big incentive for Californians who pay more taxes each year as services decline and lifestyles suffer.
Think it’s not bad? On February 13, Los Angeles will host the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium. Officials are now frantically trying to clean out a huge homeless camp near the site. It’s one of many in the LA area. Conditions were bad enough to shock California Governor Gavin Newsome during a recent visit.
Newsome was also stunned to see thousands of opened and discarded packages stolen from passing trains, and said, “What the (bleep) is going on?” I mean, it looked like a third-world country.”
Ryan Kavanaugh, founder and CEO of the video-sharing app Triller, grew up in Los Angeles. He recently told The Wrap he didn’t want to raise his kids in LA, saying, “How many times do you have to be out in Los Angeles and see feces in the streets before you just don’t want to be here anymore?”
California is blessed with resources and natural beauty few places can match. I’ve visited often and loved it. Most Californians I met were normal, hard-working folks who want to get along and have a nice place to live and raise a family.
Things have changed. The working folks can’t leave. But many with the means to start over elsewhere are fleeing the mess they’ve made in LA, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley.
These are largely high-tech or Hollywood types. No thanks.
I understand why they want to leave. But the problem is, they’re headed my way.
To avoid that I’d like to propose an immigration test for Californians seeking entry into Georgia and East Alabama, which is only 35 miles from my door.
The Chattahoochee River will do part of the job. Bridges can be easily manned by newly-minted immigration officers. Adding a few gators to the river would discourage swimmers.
Those that arrive at the proposed border will be stopped. Former residents longing to return home will be instantly admitted. Newcomers will be tested.
The exam will be easy. First, the new arrivals will have to say “ Y’all” properly. Those passing the language test will be given a bowl of grits and a plate of boiled chitlins.
Eating either gets a passing grade. New arrivals don’t get a green card. Their reward is a rib-crushing hug and a booming, “Bless Your Heart,” delivered by the designated Grandmother On Duty at the border.
I expect most newcomers will get along just fine. But If a west coast refugee is ever caught saying, “Let me tell you how we did it back in California,” their reward will be a ride to the nearest bus station and a free ticket to… anywhere else.
I hope they find happiness. Far, far away.
Alex McRae’s debut novel, “Rough Draft,” is now available. He can be reached at: email@example.com.