PROP 187: New Deal All But Kills Initiative
Proposition 187, the "landmark 1994 ballot referendum" that sought to cut social services for California's illegal immigrants, has been effectively killed, the Los Angeles Times reports. In 1998, a federal judge had struck down Proposition 187, ruling it was unconstitutional "because it conflicted with federal authority in immigration law." Today's agreement, scheduled to be announced by Gov. Gray Davis this afternoon in Los Angeles, came after civil rights advocates persuaded parties to drop their appeal of that ruling. The agreement notes, however, that the state "is free to enforce any restrictions that have been adopted under other federal laws," including, for example, Congress's 1996 welfare reform bill which makes most illegal immigrants ineligible for "nonemergency public aid" (McDonnell, 7/29). Most of the proposition's restrictions on "benefits for non-emergency health care ... were enacted in similar form as a matter of federal law in 1996 and are now in force," the Sacramento Bee notes (Smith, 7/29). All that remains of the initiative are two "relatively minor laws" creating criminal penalties for making and using false documents to conceal illegal status. Proposition 187 was introduced in 1993 as part of the "Save Our State" campaign. Former Gov. Pete Wilson championed the issue, and it is credited with sweeping him into office. But the initiative "is widely credited with creating a political revolution of sorts." The measure motivated "record numbers of new immigrants" to register to vote, increasing the power of the Latin and Asian American electorate (Los Angeles Times, 7/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.