Legislation to Repeal Un-American Proposition 187 - If Congress Won’t Act, California Will (Remember, Erase, Lead)

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Announcing a campaign to erase the stain of Proposition 187, the most mean-spirited proposition in California’s history, today, June 4, 2014, legislative leaders announced Senate Bill 396 to repeal Proposition 187.

“Today we remember the xenophobic sentiments that spurred Proposition 187, and we announce Senate Bill 396 to erase its stain from our law books. California will lead the country forward to a brighter day where immigrants are treated with dignity and given an opportunity to thrive,” said Senator Kevin de León, author of Senate Bill 396.

Irvis Orozco, a UC Davis student and Undocumented Student Activist spoke out, "If Prop 187 had been instituted and not found unconstitutional, I would have been denied the chance to get an education and become a leader in California and the nation that I love.”

Senator Ricardo Lara, California Latino Legislative Caucus Chair and a joint author of SB 396 said, “Twenty years ago, families like mine watched in disbelief as voters in California approved the mean-spirited and divisive Proposition 187. It's time that we erase this stain from California's books and continue to lead regarding immigration reform where the federal government is failing to act.”

Assemblymember Paul Fong, Asian and Pacific Islander California Legislative Caucus Chair and a joint author of SB 396 said, “California is celebrated for its rich history and diversity, but we must also face the dark and ugly moments in our history as well. From proclamations supporting the Japanese internments during World War II to the Chinese exclusionary laws during the turn of the 20th century, California has ultimately repealed these offensive laws to right the wrongs. Proposition 187 was a racist and unjust law that was ultimately found unconstitutional by the courts. SB 396 is doing what we’ve done in the past with these types of laws, and that is to finally repeal them.”

The legislation announcement was also attended by SB 396 co-authors Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Lorena Gonzalez, and Joseph Villela, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

Proposition 187, the brain-child of anti-immigrant activists led by Governor Pete Wilson in his efforts to secure re-election, was a pernicious and unabashed attempt to incriminate immigrants.Approved by the voters 59% to 41%, Proposition 187 would have prohibited undocumented immigrants and their citizen children from going to the doctor and accessing the most basic of public services—an education. It would have made every teacher, doctor, social worker, and local police officer mandatory immigration reporters, meaning they would have had to report mothers, fathers and children suspected of being undocumented to federal authorities--turning ordinary Californians into I.N.S. agents for the federal government.

The Proposition 187 campaign was labeled S.O.S.—“Save our State”—as if the state was under siege from marauding hoards here to pillage our communities. The campaign attacked the immigrants who serve as the backbone of our agricultural industry and supply the workforce for our tourist and service industries.

The federal courts quickly ruled that virtually the entire attack on immigrants was unconstitutional and Proposition 187 was never implemented. However it still remains in the California code books.

On June 23, 2014, the 20th anniversary of Proposition 187 qualifying for the statewide ballot, both the Senate and Assembly will hold ceremonies recalling that sad chapter in our state’s history.

SB 396 JOINT-AUTHORS: Senator Ricardo Lara and Assemblymembers Luis Alejo, Paul Fong and Das Williams/CO-AUTHORS: Senators Lou Correa, Ted Lieu, Alex Padilla, and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, Ed Chau, Lorena Gonzalez, V. Manuel Perez, Anthony Rendon, and Mariko Yamada.

 

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Available for interviews via phone: Successful young adults, who would have been state mandated elementary-school dropouts had Proposition 187 not been found unconstitutional.