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Proposition 187

Proposition 187 was a California ballot initiative designed to prevent illegal aliens from accessing non-emergency state services such as healthcare and schooling. It passed with 59% of the vote in 1994.

Supporters of illegal immigration frequently lie and mislead about it to support their agenda. Claims they make include:

1. They'll claim it blocked "all services" to illegal aliens; in fact it didn't block emergency services.

2. They'll claim it was declared unconstitutional. That is correct, however, what many will fail to mention is that that decision was made by a U.S. District Court (Judge Mariana Pfaelzer), and an appeal was made to a higher court until the appeal was in effect halted by Gray Davis. Those supporters will rarely reveal that the initiative never had its day in court and that the will of the voters was blocked for political reasons.

3. The most common claim is that 187 had a devastating impact on California's GOP. That claim is false as described at the link and below. That myth is spread by illegal/massive immigration supporters in a bi-partisan manner: many Democratic party leaders have used it, but it's also used repeatedly by frequent quote source Allan Hoffenblum, a Republican. It's also an issue in the 2010 gubernatorial race, with Meg Whitman even sponsoring Spanish-language billboards pointing out that she opposed 187 and currently opposes Arizona's new immigration law.

Those Republican opponents are in the end hurting the GOP and giving the Democrats more power. Instead of pointing out how those Hispanics - especially far-left racial power groups such as the National Council of La Raza who oppose our immigration laws are wrong, they're giving them more power and in effect underwriting far-left concepts.

Note that 187 was leading among Latinos 52% to 42% two months before the vote (11/24/97's "California's Latino Divide Over Bilingual Education", link). Instead of reviving and reaching out to the 52%, Republicans like Hoffenblum and Whitman are reaching out to people who'll probably never vote for them.

Despite the above, according to a Field Poll (PDF), it was opposed by Latino voters 73% to 27%.

It's not possible to determine exactly why there was such a disparity, but some possible factors would include missteps by supporters, such as some sending the message that they opposed immigration or Hispanics in general.

And, the opponents of 187 spread a wide variety of lies, and calls to ethnic solidarity might have played a role.

The lesson to be learned is not that proposals such as 187 are bad, but that they need to be handled correctly. And, when the other side is dominated by far-lefties who wave Mexican flags, why that is wrong needs to be pointed out.

The message from those who try to teach the wrong lesson is that the Republicans should give in to far-left racial solidarity groups and do what they want. Hardly a conservative lesson.

Note also that in 2004, the similar Proposition 200 passed with 56% of the vote in Arizona. The CNN exit poll (link) shows 47% of Latinos voting to support that proposition.

Perhaps those who try to offer the 187 lesson should look to 200 as an example of how they're wrong.

More on 187:

Last modified Jul 9, 2010
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Robert Reich misleads about immigration, Arizona, Mitt Romney - 04/28/12

... support almost twenty years ago for Proposition 187 -- which would have screened out undocumented immigrants from public schools, health care, and other social services, and required law-enforcement officials to report any "suspected" illegals. (Wilson, you may remember, lost that year's election, and California's Republican Party has never recovered.) 1. Pete Wilson was termed out (and by a law...

Did Proposition 187 irreparably damage the GOP in California? (No: just a myth spread by illegal immigration supporters) - 07/09/10

... illegal/massive immigration is that Proposition 187 irreparably damaged the Republican party in California. Those spreading that claim include many Democratic leaders but also Republicans such as frequent quote source Allan Hoffenblum. Now, see this:

Meg Whitman highlights opposition to Arizona immigration law on Spanish-language billboard - 07/08/10

... Arizona immigration law and to Proposition 187. The story about this (link) says that's a Whitman billboard and the picture is a screengrab of a video, so I'm assuming that it's been verified as coming from the campaign. And, it matches what she's said in previous pandering attempts, but somehow as a billboard it seems more in-your-face to the millions of Californians who support Arizona's law....

Why Michael Gerson can't be trusted on Arizona's immigration law - 04/28/10

... the false establishment take on Proposition 187; see my long discussion of Proposition 187.

Why Judge Andrew Napolitano's opinion of Arizona's immigration law is highly questionable - 04/24/10

Judge Andrew Napolitano is a libertarian, and thus we can assume he's wrong on most things. The latest instance occurred on yesterday's Neil Cavuto show on Fox News where he discussed Arizona's new immigration law [1] .

Meg Whitman spouts amnesty talking points (California governor candidate) - 10/29/09

... she would have voted against Proposition 187... Yesterday, Whitman reiterated her opposition to "sanctuary cities"...

Andrew Rosenthal /NYT melting down: lies about opponents; defends MALDEF; wrong about Saenz? - 03/23/09

Andrew Rosenthal - editorial page editor of the New York Times - continues his slow-motion melt-down in "Obama Flinches on Immigration" (link). He keys off the selection of Thomas Perez rather than Thomas Saenz in an attempt to get Barack Obama to support comprehensive immigration reform. Here's the background on the Perez/Saenz issue.

Thomas Saenz of MALDEF is new DOJ civil rights division chief (Villaraigosa) - 02/24/09

... voter measures, ranging from Proposition 187, the ballot initiative that sought to cut off social and education services to undocumented immigrants, to his work on the University of Michigan case challenging the legality of affirmative action in admissions.

Arnoldo Torres, Arnold Schwarzenegger's Latino outreach director - 11/21/06

... wrong about the Minutemen and Proposition 187. "The governor had the (guts) to say, 'You know what? I said things that I shouldn't say (and) I don't support racism,' " said Torres, a former political analyst for Univision and past executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Obviously, Arnie is little more than political tofu or a programmable talking doll. And, just...

Proposition 187 news articles (187flashback) - 07/03/06

... been brought on our community by Proposition 187," he said. Opponents say a key weakness in Prop. 187 is a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar Texas law. Attorneys for the opposition say the court is unlikely to reverse that decision. ...As the measure appeared to be headed to a big win, opponents last night looked for reasons to cheer. Many said the measure will...

Bush uncovered: he doesn't know what country he runs - 04/04/06

... Bush for taking on Wilson on Proposition 187, but says Bush's stance today seems more about keeping low-wage labor available to industry. "I think he's doing it out of interest in keeping cost of production low for his friends," he said. "It's pure economics." And this: Ernest Angelo, a petroleum engineer and mayor of Midland during the 1970s boom, brought up the issue when he encountered Bush...

Is the Illinois GOP making sense? - 08/03/04

The Illinois GOP is continuing their fervent search for a competitor to Barack Obama. At post time, they have not yet considered my suggestion that they consider Chitown institution Bozo, but give them time. Meanwhile, the latest desperate plan from the Illinois GOP is to convince one-time presidential candidate and two-time senatorial candidate Alan Keyes to move from Maryland to Illinois and...

Boxer foes court Bush, but oppose immigration plan - 03/01/04

... and their employers. ...[Proposition 187] - passed but later overturned in court - soured relations between Republicans and Latino voters for years. By contrast, Bush, while governor of Texas, courted Latinos, enjoying good relations with voters and Mexican government officials. [NOTE: Lonewacko suggests googling "Bandar Bush" for an example from another country.] Bush said his plan,...