California Republicans Drop ‘Illegal Alien’ from Platform

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

On Sunday, roughly one thousand delegates to the California Republican Party’s semi-annual convention adopted the party’s new platform, which drops the term “illegal alien.”

Otherwise, the new platform very closely resembles the old one adopted four years ago, which similarly resembled the one before that, and so on.

The California GOP has had a very conservative platform for the last twenty-two years. I know because I was first elected to serve on the party’s platform committee twenty-two years ago, and have been a part of every platform committee since.

The platform is a political party’s official document that lays out its values, principles and policy positions. This one has 24 sections and is about 20 pages long, single-spaced.

While there are a few changes to the new platform, including the addition of a plank on religious liberty, there was a bit of controversy surrounding a significant revision–actually a rewrite–of the immigration section.

Motivated, in part, by concern about the fiery rhetoric on immigration by Presidential candidate Donald Trump, Marcelino Valdez, the party’s Central Valley Vice Chairman, put forward a new draft on that section.

He told me that, “My goal in writing this was to be true to our conservative beliefs and upholding of our existing laws, with regards to immigration. The current plank does this; however with a tone that is not well received by immigrants, in particular Hispanics.”

Valdez brought his changes forward very late in the process, after the party’s Platform Drafting Subcommittee had already completed its draft. There was a lot of back-and-forth throughout the convention, but ultimately the compromise language that was struck on the immigration plank was overwhelmingly adopted by the delegates.

Gone from the immigration plank are the words “illegal alien.” Dropped is a requirement that guest workers have identification cards with biometrics for tracking. Mention of cross-deputization of state and county law enforcement personnel is eliminated.

Below are some excerpts from the newly adopted platform in various key policy areas, including some of the immigration plank changes.

“We support the two-parent family as the best environment for raising children, and therefore believe that it is important to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.”

“The California Republican Party is the party that protects innocent life because we believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death….We support laws that protect unborn children from partial birth, sex selection, and tax-payer funded abortions, and abortions performed as a form a birth control or on minor girls without their parents’ notification and consent….We encourage the reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision.”

“We support environmental policies based upon sound science that encourages innovation and application of new technologies through market based incentives whenever possible instead of regulation, taxation and litigation. Environmental regulations must be considered in light of the effects that they will have on workers and on the economy.”

“One of the first acts of a totalitarian regime is to disarm its people. California’s gun control laws only serve to disarm law-abiding citizens not criminals. We oppose any further gun control legislation and support the right of all California citizens to own and bear guns and ammunition for any lawful purpose.

“America continues to symbolize hope and promise to people from around the world. We believe new immigrants help make our great nation greater still….To ensure our immigration laws are adhered to, we support devoting more resources to border control, and increasing penalties for overstaying visas. We will support implementing a nationwide e-verify system….We will not support a policy that grants amnesty. Amnesty only rewards and encourages law breaking. We believe that once one enters the United States as a legal immigrant and desires to become a citizen, one should endeavor to become an American.”

“We believe that taxes in California are too high, and that our state government spends too much….We call upon our government officials to join a pledge to stand together against any new taxes.”

“…we support school choice programs, voucher and tax-credit scholarships, magnet schools, charter schools, homeschooling, educational savings account, and right of parents to choose to have their child taught in academic English.”

“We believe that people make better decisions than does government, and the free market embodies this principle. The government’s role is to ensure that markets are free and that there is genuine competition….We support right-to-work laws and reject mandatory closed union shops were workers are forced to join unions against their will. We also reject union workers being forced to make political contributions to candidates or causes they oppose.”

Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor of Breitbart California. A longtime participant, observer and chronicler of California politics, Jon is also the publisher at His column appears weekly on this page. You can reach Jon at


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