Supporters of Ballot Initiative To Restrict Services To Undocumented Immigrants Short 200,000 Signatures
Supporters of a ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to deny most public benefits to undocumented immigrants have 405,000 of the 598,105 signatures required by April 29 to put the measure on the November statewide ballot, the North County Times reports. The ballot initiative would restrict access to services such as prenatal care and would require state officials to report undocumented immigrants to authorities. However, it would not affect emergency medical care and primary education for children of undocumented immigrants (Sifuentes, North County Times, 4/1). A similar initiative, called Proposition 187, was approved by California voters in 1994 but never implemented because of court challenges. That measure would have restricted access to nonemergency health and other public services for undocumented immigrants (California Healthline, 1/12). State law requires that the ballot initiative receive signatures equal to 8% of the vote in the latest statewide election, and signature gathering campaigns generally collect at least 20% more signatures than required to account for those that are likely to be invalidated. Howard Kaloogian, a former Republican Assembly member who has been seeking signatures on the Internet, said, "It's typical that most of the signatures are collected during the last days." But Gary Jacobson, a professor of political science at the University of California-San Diego, said, "If they are that far short, this late, with no funding, then it's urgent." Nativo Lopez, president of Hermandad Mexicana, an organization opposed to the initiative, said it is "too early to cry victory," the Times reports (North County Times, 4/1). KQED's "California Report" Tuesday reported on the "controversial" ballot initiative. The segment includes comments from Dr. Fernando Guerra, an associate professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University; Republican political analyst Alan Hoffenblum; Ron Prince of Save our State; California Republican Party Chair George Sundheim; and former Gov. Pete Wilson (R) (Stoltz, "California Report," KQED, 3/30). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.