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Bill Would Cut Prop. 187 Language About Undocumented Immigrants

On Wednesday, a group of California lawmakers introduced a measure (SB 396) that would delete provisions of a ballot measure approved 20 years ago that aimed to withhold services -- such as education and health care programs -- from undocumented immigrants, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (McGreevy, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/4).

Background

In 1994, California voters approved Proposition 187, which sought to establish a citizenship screening system that would exclude undocumented immigrants from state-run education and health care programs. California was the first state to pass legislation dealing with immigration, which was traditionally a federal issue. The new law was challenged in a lawsuit and found unconstitutional by a federal court.

The state gave up appealing the ruling in 1999 (Lauer, California Healthline, 2/20). However, the law remains on the books in California.

Details of SB 396

Under SB 396, by state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), passages from Prop. 187 would be removed from California's education, health and safety, and welfare codes.

The bill is supported by California Latino Legislative Caucus Chair Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Assembly member Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), chair of the state's Asian and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/4).

During a press conference, de León said the measure is "a very powerful gesture to all Californians that we will remove and completely erase this part of our troubled history with immigrants."

Meanwhile, lawmakers said they also are working on a ballot measure that would call for national immigration reforms, including a so-called "path to citizenship" for undocumented residents (Rosenhall, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/4).

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