Some of the activists were not yet born, but they said that knowing about the measure supported by Pete Wilson in California compromises and inspires them to fight for the community.

It has been 25 years since Proposition 187 was passed that proposed to criminalize immigrants without legal documents in California. Although it was approved by voters with 59% of the electorate, it died in federal court in 1999 after being declared unconstitutional.

However, its shadow has left fear, but also teaching and strength for many activists including the youngest who were not yet born or were not in this country when the racist law was passed.

Emelyne Camacho, 24, is about to get a master's degree in political science from California State University, Long Beach, and remembers learning about Proposition 187 through her Chicano Studies classes.

"There we learned why this helped change the way Latinos see politics in California," Camacho said. "Some had just become residents for amnesty and that helped them become citizens and turn California into a more democratic state."

Camacho is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and although she was not yet born when Proposition 187 was approved, learning about this important moment motivates her to want to do much more in her life.

She hopes to get a doctorate to be president of a university. This positive change is the clearest sign to show that California has dedicated, hardworking and educated Latinos.

"Because there are many Latinos who enter college, but very few graduate," said Camacho. "Things must change."

Emelyne Camacho with her family on the day she graduated from the University of California at Long Beach CSULB. (Supplied)

Not only are Latinos

Zack Mohamed, 29, said it is important to emphasize that the issue of immigration cannot only be focused on Latinos as there are immigrants from many countries.

“My family and I arrived in the United States as refugees, but we have always been seen as‘ the others ’,” said Mohamed, who is from Somalia.

Mohamed said Tuesday in a panel focused on Proposition187 that for many years he had to live in fear for the simple fact of being an African, a Muslim and a refugee with a different last name.

"Since my last name was Mohamed, they always told me (my parents) to be careful because they could confuse me with a terrorist," said the activist at the panel that took place at the California Endowment in downtown Los Angeles.

Mohamed is an organizer with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) where he has dedicated himself to fighting against racial injustice, against immigrants, against refugees, against the LGBTQ group, and against economic and gender injustices.

Mohamed said that unfortunately Proposition 187 is still alive nationwide.

"She has not died because we see her in (President) Trump and at different levels of Congress, in people who believe that the undocumented and those who were not born in this country are not welcome," Mohamed said. "But I am here to tell you that you are welcome and I will fight for them just as I hope you will fight for me."

A few days ago a panel was held to share experiences and opinions about 187. (Jacqueline García)

‘Today we march, tomorrow we vote’

The massive pro-immigrant marches that have taken place in different parts of the world continue to resonate even in the youngest who already have some knowledge of President Trump and immigration issues.

Michelle Gutierrez, 17, said hearing about Proposition 187 and defamatory immigrant issues makes her feel angry and sad at the same time. But it also motivates her to fight for a better future.

"We all bring good things to the United States because being an American is not only about being born on this side of the earth but also of those who have arrived and contributed in a positive way," said the daughter of Mexican immigrants.

Because she is coming of age, and can register to vote, Gutierrez has been responsible for promoting this civic act among youth so they know that their voice has the power to make changes.

“Knowing that I have the power to change something, whether through voting, education or speaking English, that motivates me to continue helping to change things,” said San Fernando Valley High School student.

Zack Mohamed (i) and Michelle Gutiérrez offered their views on the 187. (Jacqueline García)

She said her parents did not know about Proposition 187 and therefore did not talk about it, but it has been through her participation as an activist she has learned. This has also allowed him to see that many important issues are connected such as the environment, health or immigration.

"We are all race and we are all facing these issues," said the student of the last year of high school.

Jane Garcia, executive director of The Clinic in Oakland, Northern California, constantly works with mixed-status families and has learned to recognize the fear of family separation.

However, he applauded the fact that young people continue to learn from such a controversial but educational topic at the same time so that it never happens again.

She clearly remembers how 25 years ago the rule of Proposition 187 required that health center workers report people without documents.

“That was terrible because it went against our principles. We were worried about the law, but we were more angry that we had to be the ones who had to report (to the immigrants), ”Garcia said.

She agrees with Mohamed that the anti-immigrant sentiment continues and the current situation is very similar to the past.

"We see on the issue of‘ public charge ’, that the biggest impact is for our children because their families are afraid to take them to the doctor," Garcia said. "We tell them that we are here to help them and not criminalize them."

The director said that all immigrants who work in difficult jobs such as agricultural fields, construction, cleaning, childcare and senior citizens should be recognized.

“Anti-immigrants say,‘ Stop all the illegals! ’And that causes me a lot of courage. Don't call me illegal, don't call illegal people, ”Garcia said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here