Remember today, 25 years later, the earthquake that caused the approval by popular referendum of Proposition 187 in California is more than appropriate because of the current national circumstances brought about by President Donald Trump. Immigrants, undocumented or with papers, live today a climate of anxiety, or fear, so it can happen due to presidential proclamations against immigrants.

In 1994, Republican Governor Pete Wilson played it all on the anti-immigrant card. And won. Then he lost everything, especially his good name, among much of the electorate. Moreover, many commentators and political scientists argue that the 187 dug the burial of the Republican Party in the state that has failed to leave in 25 years judging by the local, state and federal election results.

The preamble of 187 affirmed that the state had suffered financially due to the presence of so much immigrant, that many have suffered in their own flesh the criminal conduct of many undocumented immigrants and that it was therefore necessary to limit their entry and presence in California, to whom They called "illegal."

Cover on a march in 1994 against the anti-immigrant measure supported by the governor of California, Pete Wilson.

To achieve this, their supporters argued, the state attorney general and the INS had to be reported to immigrants detected anywhere in California; deny them any social benefits, including non-emergency health benefits, until they have demonstrated their legal presence in the state. As for primary and secondary school children, they could not be admitted or retained in schools if they did not prove that their parents or guardians were documented. If they did not, they should be expelled from the study centers.

According to reports published on the case then, in 1994 California had 1.3 million immigrants, of whom 308,000 were school-age children.

Among its main proponents were the aforementioned Governor Pete Wilson, State Attorney General Dan Lungren, Long Beach Republican, and Assemblyman Dick Montjoy, Monrovia Republican and author of the original proposal. Even Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who wanted to be tougher than the tough ones against the undocumented to ensure her re-election to the National Senate, which she achieved.

The demonstration in Los Angeles brought together immigrants of various nationalities and ages.
March in LA against the Trump administration for its anti-immigrant measures. (Archive)

59 percent voted in favor of the proposal. Among them, according to the newspaper’s poll Los Angeles Times, 23 percent of Latinos. At that time, Latinos were 26 of the population of California and 8 percent of them voted. The final result of the electorate was 59 to 41.

It would be interesting to know the result of a national survey on President Donald Trump's idea of ​​deporting the alleged eleven million undocumented residents in the country.

As you can see, it was a radical and cruel proposal, in addition to covering authoritarian dyes that could turn California into a state of "snitches."


The campaign in favor of the proposal was intense and it is estimated that about 3 billion dollars were spent to get its approval.

The opposition was also fierce.

Starting with the demonstrations, including boycotts, of high school students from across the state who spoke eloquently against it. The bad thing for some supporters and opponents of the measure was that many of these demonstrations were protected by the flag of Mexico, detail that indisposed many against the protests and in favor of it 187.

Many community organizations, from local and national churches, opposed the 187 because it was considered xenophobic and racist.

The formal opposition, in a manner of speaking, was carried out by the Mexican American Fund for Legal Defense and Education (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Organizations that immediately resorted to the tribals to stop the entry into force of the measure, since California, they argued, could not regulate immigration or regulate access to public benefits.

After several judicial skirmishes, Judge Mariana Pfaelzer declared her definitively unconstitutional in December 1997, a decision appealed by Wilson.

His successor Gray Davis withdrew the appeal and certified the death of the ill-fated Proposition 187.

Thus she was buried, but not the works of opposition to immigrants with other tools, including that of the "English Only", of which her visible face in Spanish was a Latino. "There is nothing worse than the wedge of the same stick," says the saying.

Juan José García appears fifth on the left with striped shirt and glasses. The photo was taken in the writing of La Opinión in the decade of Proposition 187. (Courtesy)

The fight continues

Returning to President Donald Trump, his talk makes people think about issues of 187. From the accusations that rapists and thieves come along the southern border determined to take advantage of the wealth of this country and to take jobs from citizens or documented residents.

Hence its fetish fixation that “a beautiful wall” must be built on the southern border to keep out the unwanted, read Latin brown people from the south, with the aggravating fact that it demands Mexico and the countries of the “central triangle” (The Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala) to do the dirty work in exchange for aid. According to press reports, those four countries have decided to be good boys and do what the Master commands.

It is worth remembering the passage of Proposition 187, but I fear that the country has not learned much and is determined to repeat it one way or another, starting with the separation of parents and children, many of them caged, especially if The current President remains in his position.

NOTE. For the writing of this note, the author has used his experiences in and from La Opinion and Internet notes.


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