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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:
- "History of Proposition 187"
- en.wikipedia . org/wiki/California_Proposition_187_(1994)
- "A Messy Way to Settle Proposition 187 Dispute" (7/30/99, link)
- Two L.A. Times articles "Some Foes of Prop. 187 Now Preach Compromise" (link) and "Prop. 187 Backers Call Davis Inclusion Pledge Insincere" (link), both from 5/11/99
- "Governor Davis Spurns Five Million Voters, Kills Prop. 187" (link)
- "California: Social Policy Issues" (also here)
- "I voted for Proposition 187"
- This post