Was the 1994 Californian Proposition 187 a good piece of legislation?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
[Editor’s Note: On Nov. 8, 1994, California voters approved CA Proposition 187. In Nov. 1994 a temporary restraining order was issued to prevent Proposition 187 from being implemented after five suits were filed against it in the US District Court. On Mar. 13, 1998, the US District Court ruled Prop. 187 unconstitutional.]
The Field Institute, a research analysis corporation, in its Jan. 1995 California Opinion Index entitled "A Summary Analysis of Voting in the 1994 General Election," offered the following:
"Proposition 187, the controversial ballot initiative which makes illegal immigrants ineligible to receive public health and education services, was approved by voters by an 18-point margin, 59% to 41%. An analysis of the vote by regional and demographic subgroups shows the following:
The proposition carried all regions of the state except the Bay Area (where it trailed by 10 points). Support for Prop. 187 was extremely strong in the Inland Empire (+40 points), the North Coast/Sierras (+36 points), San Diego/ Orange (+34 points) and the Central Valley (+32 points).
The vote on Prop. 187 was highly partisan, with Republicans favoring it three to one, and Democrats opposed three to two. Independents favored the initiative by 22 points.
Political ideology was strongly linked to opinions of the initiative. Conservatives were strongly supportive, favoring Prop. 187 by 52 points. By contrast, liberals opposed the initiative by 36 points. Political moderates were more divided, but favored it by 12 points.
Support for Prop. 187 was strongest among white non- Hispanic voters (+28 points), and especially white males (+38 points). Latinos, on the other hand, voted No by a 73% to 27% margin. Blacks and Asians divided about evenly, with 52% voting in favor and 48% opposed.
The initiative carried among both male and female voters, although men supported it by a larger margin — 24 points — versus 12 points among women.
Voters age 60 or older were strongly supportive of the initiative, favoring it by 32 points, while younger voters under age 30 split about evenly on the measure. Majorities of voters age 30 - 59 supported the initiative.
Voters with no more than a high school education and those with some college training favored Prop. 187 by wide 28- point margins. College graduates were also supportive, but by a narrower 8-point margin, whereas those with a postgraduate degree were opposed by 4 points.
Majorities of voters in all income categories supported the initiative.
Protestants favored Prop. 187 by a greater than two to one margin (69% to 31%). On the other hand, Catholics voted against it by a narrow 2-point margin, Jewish voters opposed it by 10 points and those with no religious preference voted No by a 4-point margin.
The Los Angeles Times exit poll also asked voters whether they were a first generation, second generation or third or more generation U.S. resident. The results show that voters who have resided in the U.S. for three or more generations were more supportive than those who have been here for a shorter period."
Was the 1994 Californian Proposition 187 a good piece of legislation?
Pete Wilson, JD, former Governor of California and Co-Chairman of Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign, in an Aug. 19, 2003 National Review article entitled "Working for Arnold, A Conversation with Schwarzenegger Co-chairman Pete Wilson," offered the following:
"First of all, the actual responsibility to control the border, legally and constitutionally, is with the feds. Second, they [Californians] really didn't give up — 187 was, I think, remarkable. And it was scuttled by the courts. So I wouldn't agree... that they have quit fighting it. They don't see the means at hand with this governor [Arnold Schwarzenegger] to do that, but hell, 187 would pass today, I think perhaps by a greater margin."
Ron Prince, Accountant and Co-author of Proposition 187 and the 2004 SOS "Save Our State" Californian Initiative, in an Apr. 9, 2004 KCET Life & Times interview, stated:
"Nearly forty percent of all the illegals in the United States are right here in the state of California, so we would think that it makes good sense, good public policy, to stop encouraging further illegal immigration by providing these benefits. This is, in fact, the spirit of Proposition 187. This isn't in conflict with federal law. This is federal law, and we are allowed by that law to put it in our state constitution, so the courts are not going to be able to tamper with this one [SOS initiative]."
Justin Raimondo, Editorial Director of Antiwar.com, in a Jan. 1995 article from The Mises Institute monthly publication Free Market entitled "Victory in California," explained:
"What exactly did the referendum propose? It brought an end to all government subsidies to illegal aliens in California, including welfare in the form of public education and health care, except in cases of emergencies. That's it. It was a chance, perhaps for the first time this century, for the people of a state to vote up or down on whether to keep or scrap a welfare program in its totality.
Let's be clear: Prop. 187 did not attack immigration. Immigration policy, however flawed, is set in Washington and remains unchanged. It did not even crack down on illegal immigration: the initiative said nothing about deporting or arresting illegals who come to live and work in the private sector. Illegals can attend any private school that would take them, or educate their children at home, as more and more citizens are doing anyway.
The sole focus of Prop. 187 was forbidding non-citizens from looting the citizens of California. Even people who favor more immigration should have rallied behind 187; it would insure that people who come here intend to work. Even people who champion illegal immigration could have favored Prop. 187; it insured that illegals would not be leaching off the citizenry."
Human Events, a national conservative weekly, in an Aug. 18, 2003 editorial article entitled "Bring Back Proposition 187," offered the following:
"In 1994, California voters... approved Proposition 187, terminating non-emergency state services for immigration lawbreakers... With the removal of [Gray] Davis, Prop 187 should be resurrected. The proposition is not only right, it is also indispensable to saving California from financial ruin... As a bonus, Prop 187 is still popular. Despite the demagogic race-baiting campaign to thwart it, evidence suggests that support for Prop 187 has grown. In June 1999, the Los Angeles Times conducted a massive poll of 1,179 registered California voters. Sixty percent said they supported Prop 187, only 35% said they opposed it. Prop 187 is probably more popular in California now than any politician... Schwarzenegger needs to go further if he wants make a real difference for California taxpayers. He should pledge to resurrect and fully enforce Proposition 187."
David Horowitz, MA, Writer and Editor of FrontPageMagazine.com, in an Aug. 13, 2003 FrontPageMagazine.com article entitled "How Arnold (and Pete Wilson) Will Do It," wrote:
"Liberals who think Prop 187 is a political albatross for Arnold are in deep denial and should think again. While it is true the liberal establishment and media denounced Proposition 187 as xenophobic and worse, a landslide majority of Californians -- including more than 40 percent of Hispanics -- embraced 187 and turned it into law. They will do so (symbolically) again. Who better than a grateful American immigrant like Arnold Schwarzenegger to point out to obtuse liberals the difference between legal immigration and illegal entry – and the crippling consequences of not making the distinction?.. Californians have been forced to live with the destructive consequences of illegal immigration ever since. But that only makes Prop 187 an even more volatile memory now."
Bill Clinton, JD, former President of the United States, in a Nov. 6, 1994 interview with The Free Press, entitled "President Clinton Speaks Out on Prop. 187," stated:
"There is some racial energy there, some element to it, but I think what is mostly going on here, it's part of the politics of resentment... The immigrants who are in California, many of them the legal immigrants in California, many of them feel that Prop. 187 is motivated in part by racial impulses... Whether it is or not, it will have an impact that is divisive.
It's having a very divisive effect among California's population at a time when you are poised to be in the strongest position to lead this country into the 21st century, because of your diversity... It is a precious resource, and it's being frayed and tattered by the politics of resentment and frustration today. There is a legitimate impulse behind 187... the real motivation is the frustration at the inability of the country or state to control immigration at a time of economic distress."
George J. Borjas, PhD, Professor of Economics at the University of California at San Diego, in an Apr. 17, 1995 National Review article entitled "Know the Flow," offered the following:
"The debate over immigration policy is much too important to be guided by ignorance or by a distortion of the facts... Perhaps if we can agree on the essence of the problem, we can proceed to a more rational discussion of the policy solutions... The failure of the political system to address the problems caused by illegal aliens led to the enactment of Proposition 187, a proposition that many of us (even if we believe that illegal aliens create problems) view as ill-advised and ill-crafted.
The longer the politicians bury their heads in the sand, the more likely that the Proposition 187 movement will spawn a 'Proposition 188' to control legal immigration. This resolution to the debate would be unfortunate, because it would probably lead to far more draconian measures than are justified."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in a Jan.-Feb. 1998 ACLU News article entitled "Judge Rules Prop. 187 Unconstitutional, States May Not Make Own Immigration Laws," offered the following:
"Reaffirming that teachers, nurses and social workers need not act as border patrol agents, on November 14, U.S. District Court Judge Marina Pfaelzer found almost all of Proposition 187 unconstitutional because the law, passed by California voters in 1994, oversteps the boundaries of state authority.
The District Court ruling states that the passage by Congress of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRA) - the so-called 'Welfare Reform' of 1996 - precludes the state from establishing laws that are separate and in conflict with federal law on immigration policy and the treatment of immigrants, regardless of their legal status...
From the beginning, Proposition 187 was bad law and bad policy. Public health experts unanimously agreed that Proposition 187's denial of health services would endanger the public health, leading to increased incidence of tuberculosis and other communicable diseases... education and law enforcement experts opposed the denial of elementary and secondary school access to innocent children.
Proposition 187's main purpose has always been as the face card in Governor Wilson's race deck. Its legacy would have been creating division among California's diverse people's whose differences should be celebrated, not exploited."
Peter Skerry, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, in a June 19, 2006 The New Republic "Correspondence" article, stated:
"Our own opinion is that draconian policies like Proposition 187 do not help Republicans earn the loyalty of Latino voters. It appears that the Republicans in the White House agree. But, more to the point of our article, Proposition 187 was bad public policy. Regrettably, Smith [Lamar Smith, U.S. House Representative (R-TX)] neglected to address the substance of our flawed immigration policy, which has captured the attention of so many Americans."