I’ve been at the immigration reform and enforcement table for about 20 years. I’ve worked with activists during all those years. But last week, in Los Angeles, I had a first-time-ever experience at an activist brain storming session.

Gathered for an update on Stop AB131, the petition drive to gather signatures to force a ballot initiative as to whether the California taxpayers should fund college grants to illegal aliens, I asked the top activist leaders from Southern California how the signature drive was going.

They started updating me with the positive response from California residents who signed the petitions but then admitted about 500,000 more signatures were still needed. When I said there was only a little more than three weeks to go to meet the January 5th deadline, suddenly their faces dropped at once, and the room went completely silent.

It was easy to read on each of their faces; the task was nearly impossible! Without big money to pay signature gatherers or a tsunami of petitions flooding in, the taxpayers of California will be forced to give grant money to illegal aliens for college, on top of the $22 billion they are spending annually in California to support the illegal alien population.

While all of our minds were racing and searching for suggestions as to how to accomplish this daunting task of gathering signatures, Lupe Moreno, long time Hispanic leader from Santa Ana, said: “Can we have a prayer?” Everyone agreed to pray.

As the prayer went around the table, people expressed their sorrow for the lack of leadership in the State of California and in the nation to protect the interest of American citizens, and asked for divine guidance in helping them understand the harm their policies are inflicting on millions of innocent people in the state. In all the years I have worked on this issue, I had not witnessed the sort of sincere emotion that was expressed in that room.

You see, the politicians in California are happy to give money the state doesn’t have to illegal aliens to attend college, while they cut the budgets and slash programs for public safety, right and left. The American citizen’s interests and safety are simply collateral damage for seeking and appealing to the illegal alien lobby.

These activists in California have already learned what the rest of the nation is about to learn. We the people… are the only ones looking out for the best interest of American citizens. With few exceptions, we have no national leadership on the issue of stopping the illegal migration flow into our nation.

American citizenship or the benefits thereof have become a commodity for politicians to pander and barter away. They will grant de facto citizenship through sanctuary policies, in-state tuition, non-compliance with Secure Communities, grants for college, etc., etc., etc. President Obama and most the Republican presidential hopefuls are peddling various versions of amnesty proposals if they are elected next year.

What do these politicians want in return? They are hoping to leverage enough votes in key states to put them over the top in 2012, no matter what it costs the American people. This is futures betting: The politicians are gambling the nation’s future in hopes of winning the next election.

So while the state can’t afford to pay its bills or provide decent services to citizens, these California activists watch their elected leaders lavish still more benefits for people who don’t have a legal right to be in the country. And while their child might have to pay out-of-state tuition to go to college in another state, thousands of illegal aliens are going to college at in-state tuition rates in California that they are subsidizing.

In addition, they know that millions of other illegal alien parents are receiving food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance and dozens of other state and local benefits for their American-born children, while they have to decide which bills will be paid this month and which will have to wait.

It’s not hard to understand why the activists of California need all the help they can get.