25 Years After Proposition 187, How Has California Changed?

25 years ago, California voters approved Proposition 187, a ballot initiative that sought to ban education, health care and other social services for undocumented immigrants. This was the first anti-immigrant state legislation of our time.

Prop 187 was challenged and immediately blocked by the courts and finally declared unconstitutional. However, the movement it generated helped re-elect Republican Governor Pete Wilson, spawned similar initiatives in other states and is been replicated by President Trump.

On the other hand, the anti-immigrant reaction gave Latinos greater confidence, sparked the largest protest march of the time in Los Angeles and, in the words of former California Senate President Kevin de León, “sowed hatred and division and reaped a new generation of leaders and a new California.”

Veterans of these events 25 years ago commented on this: lawyer and activist Renee Saucedo, California Senate President Pro Tem Emeritus Kevin de León, and social researcher and “Power Shift” author David Ayón.

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