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California Proposition 187

California Proposition 187

Legislation

By: State of California

Date: 1994

Source: California Proposition 187. Available at: 〈http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/ethnicstudies/historicdocs/propl87.txt〉 (accessed June 7, 2006).

About the Author: California is the most populous of the fifty states. It has a large Hispanic population and shares a lengthy border with Mexico.

INTRODUCTION

The state of California has a long history of voter activism. Californians pioneered the use of ballot initiatives as a tool to wrest control of state government away from their lawmakers; this technique reached its pinnacle when voters in the state voted to remove a sitting governor and replace him with famous actor Arnold Schwarzeneger. California has the largest economy among the fifty states and its prosperity attracts large numbers of legal and illegal immigrants from across the Mexican border.

As the state faced skyrocketing public expenditures during the 1990s, legislators and citizens began examining the cost of public assistance and education. Convinced that an inordinate share of California's funds was being spent to benefit illegal immigrants, legislators created Proposition 187, which came to a public vote in 1994. Proposition 187 required any person receiving public education or any other publicly funded benefit to prove U.S. citizenship. The measure was supported by Governor Pete Wilson and opposed by Hispanic advocacy groups who organized a mass march through the streets of Los Angeles. The measure passed with approximately fifty-nine percent of the vote and became California law.

PRIMARY SOURCE

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution.

This initiative measure adds sections to various codes; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

PROPOSED LAW

SECTION 1. Findings and Declaration.

The People of California find and declare as follows:

That they have suffered and are suffering economic hardship caused by the presence of illegal aliens in this state.

That they have suffered and are suffering personal injury and damage caused by the criminal conduct of illegal aliens in this state.

That they have a right to the protection of their government from any person or persons entering this country unlawfully.

Therefore, the People of California declare their intention to provide for cooperation between their agencies of state and local government with the federal government, and to establish a system of required notification by and between such agencies to prevent illegal aliens in the United States from receiving benefits or public services in the State of California.

SECTION 2. Manufacture, Distribution or Sale of False Citizenship or Resident Alien Documents: Crime and Punishment.

Section 113 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

113. Any person who manufactures, distributes or sells false documents to conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five years or by a fine of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000).

SECTION 3. Use of False Citizenship or Resident Alien Documents: Crime and Punishment.

Section 114 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

114. Any person who uses false documents to conceal his or her true citizenship or resident alien status is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five years or by a fine of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

SECTION 4. Law Enforcement Cooperation with INS.

Section 834b is added to the Penal Code, to read:

834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.

(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:

(1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.

(2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

(3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

SECTION 5. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Social Services.

Section 10001.5 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

10001.5. (a) In order to carry out the intention of the People of California that only citizens of the United States and aliens lawfully admitted to the United States may receive the benefits of public social services and to ensure that all persons employed in the providing of those services shall diligently protect public funds from misuse, the provisions of this section are adopted.

(b) A person shall not receive any public social services to which he or she may be otherwise entitled until the legal status of that person has been verified as one of the following:

(1) A citizen of the United States.

(2) An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident.

(3) An alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time.

(c) If any public entity in this state to whom a person has applied for public social services determines or reasonably suspects, based upon the information provided to it, that the person is an alien in the United States in violation of federal law, the following procedures shall be followed by the public entity:

(1) The entity shall not provide the person with benefits or services.

(2) The entity shall, in writing, notify the person of his or her apparent illegal immigration status, and that the person must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

(3) The entity shall also notify the State Director of Social Services, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

SECTION 6. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Publicly Funded Health Care.

Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 130) is added to Part 1 of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:

Chapter 1.3. Publicly-Funded Health Care Services

130. (a) In order to carry out the intention of the People of California that, excepting emergency medical care as required by federal law, only citizens of the United States and aliens lawfully admitted to the United States may receive the benefits of publicly-funded health care, and to ensure that all persons employed in the providing of those services shall diligently protect public funds from misuse, the provisions of this section are adopted.

(b) A person shall not receive any health care services from a publicly-funded health care facility, to which he or she is otherwise entitled until the legal status of that person has been verified as one of the following:

(1) A citizen of the United States.

(2) An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident.

(3) An alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time.

(c) If any publicly-funded health care facility in this state from whom a person seeks health care services, other than emergency medical care as required by federal law, determines or reasonably suspects, based upon the information provided to it, that the person is an alien in the United States in violation of federal law, the following procedures shall be followed by the facility:

(1) The facility shall not provide the person with services.

(2) The facility shall, in writing, notify the person of his or her apparent illegal immigration status, and that the person must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

(3) The facility shall also notify the State Director of Health Services, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

(d) For purposes of this section "publicly-funded health care facility" shall be defined as specified in Sections 1200 and 1250 of this code as of January 1, 1993.

SECTION 7. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.

Section 48215 is added to the Education Code, to read:

48215. (a) No public elementary or secondary school shall admit, or permit the attendance of, any child who is not a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, or a person who is otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

(b) Commencing January 1, 1995, each school district shall verify the legal status of each child enrolling in the school district for the first time in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents, or persons who are otherwise authorized to be present in the United States.

(c) By January 1, 1996, each school district shall have verified the legal status of each child already enrolled and in attendance in the school district in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents, or persons who are otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

(d) By January 1, 1996, each school district shall also have verified the legal status of each parent or guardian of each child referred to in subdivisions (b) and (c), to determine whether such parent or guardian is one of the following:

(1) A citizen of the United States.

(2) An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident.

(3) An alien admitted lawfully for a temporary period of time.

(e) Each school district shall provide information to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any enrollee or pupil, or parent or guardian, attending a public elementary or secondary school in the school district determined or reasonably suspected to be in violation of federal immigration laws within forty-five days after becoming aware of an apparent violation. The notice shall also be provided to the parent or legal guardian of the enrollee or pupil, and shall state that an existing pupil may not continue to attend the school after ninety calendar days from the date of the notice, unless legal status is established.

(f) For each child who cannot establish legal status in the United States, each school district shall continue to provide education for a period of ninety days from the date of the notice. Such ninety day period shall be utilized to accomplish an orderly transition to a school in the child's country of origin. Each school district shall fully cooperate in this transition effort to ensure that the educational needs of the child are best served for that period of time.

SECTION 8. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions.

Section 66010.8 is added to the Education Code, to read:

66010.8. (a) No public institution of postsecondary education shall admit, enroll, or permit the attendance of any person who is not a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident in the United States, or a person who is otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

(b) Commencing with the first term or semester that begins after January 1, 1995, and at the commencement of each term or semester thereafter, each public postsecondary educational institution shall verify the status of each person enrolled or in attendance at that institution in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of United States citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents in the United States, and persons who are otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

(c) No later than 45 days after the admissions officer of a public postsecondary educational institution becomes aware of the application, enrollment, or attendance of a person determined to be, or who is under reasonable suspicion of being, in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, that officer shall provide that information to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The information shall also be provided to the applicant, enrollee, or person admitted.

SECTION 9. Attorney General Cooperation with the INS.

Section 53069.65 is added to the Government Code, to read:

53069.65. Whenever the state or a city, or a county, or any other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries reports the presence of a person who is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws to the Attorney General of California, that report shall be transmitted to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Attorney General shall be responsible for maintaining on-going and accurate records of such reports, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other government entity.

SECTION 10. Amendment and Severability.

The statutory provisions contained in this measure may not be amended by the Legislature except to further its purposes by statute passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, or by a statute that becomes effective only when approved by the voters.

In the event that any portion of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect any other provision or application of the act, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this act are severable.

SIGNIFICANCE

Immediately following its enactment, Proposition 187 was challenged in state court. Civil rights groups, including the Mexican-American Legal Defense/Education Fund, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the American Civil Liberties Union, quickly sought an injunction against the new measure, and on November 11 an injunction was issued pending a trial. The court based its action on a 1982 Texas ruling that required the state to provide public education for children of illegal immigrants residing in the state.

The Texas court set out two reasons for its ruling. First, it noted that the relative number of illegal immigrant children was small compared to the state's legal population, minimizing the economic impact on the state. Second, it observed that pending federal legislation was likely to grant amnesty to many of the children affected by the decision, meaning that these children were likely to be legally entitled to education in the near future. In the case of Proposition 187, the economic impact was also relatively small, but potential amnesty was not being considered.

Critics of Proposition 187 argued that the law violates the Constitution's guarantee of due process, since it directed state officials to withhold benefits without a court hearing. They also noted that California state law classifies education as a uniquely important service, demanding a more rigorous examination before it may be denied. Supporters of the law appealed to simple economics to make their case, arguing that the existing system unfairly forced tax-paying legal residents to subsidize health services and education for illegal aliens. They also argued that the law rewarded law-breakers by supporting individuals who entered the country illegally.

The legal battle over Proposition 187 dragged through the courts for years, as both sides filed briefs and sought friendlier venues. As the 1998 governor's election approached, candidate Gray Davis campaigned as an advocate of the law. Following his election, Davis submitted the law to arbitration, and the state's suit was eventually dropped, effectively killing the law. Hispanic groups applauded Davis's handling of the issue, while Proposition 187 fans claimed that he intentionally let the law die. Conservatives decried what they saw as the court system's hijacking of a legal election decision.

In the years since Proposition 187 was debated, immigration from Mexico has continued to be a point of contention. The U.S. border with Mexico is poorly policed and relatively porous, allowing easy entry for illegal immigrants. While immigration policy has been a politically thorny issue throughout the history of the nation, the extreme economic differences between the United States and Mexico provide tremendous incentive for poor Mexicans to move North. In 2006, President George W. Bush reopened the national debate about Mexican immigration and the millions of illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Books

Daniels, Roger. Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life. New York: Harper Perennial, 2002.

Mills, Nicholas. Arguing Immigration: The Controversy and Crisis Over the Future of Immigration in America. New York: Touchstone, 1994.

Oni, Kent A., and John M. Sloop. Shifting Borders: Rhetoric, Immigration, and Californa's Proposition 187. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002.

Periodicals

"Another Rebellion." The Economist 373 (2004): 40.

Borjas, George J. "Welfare Reform and Immigrant Participation in Welfare Programs." International Migration Review 36 (2002): 1093-1123.

Valenty, Linda O., and Ronald D. Sylvia. "Thresholds for Tolerance: The Impact of Racial and Ethnic Population Composition on the Vote for California Propositions 187 and 209." Social Science Journal 41 (2004): 433-446.

Web sites

CNN. "Most of California's Prop. 187 Ruled Unconstitutional." 〈http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/03/19/prop.l87/〉 (accessed June 7, 2006).

Skelton, George. "GOP's Prop. 187 Wounds Healing, But Denis Are Bleeding." Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2006. 〈http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-capllmayl1,1,6088958.column?coll=la-util-politics-cal〉 (accessed June 7, 2006).

York, Anthony. "R.I.P. Prop. 187." Salon, July 30, 1999. 〈http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/07/30/immigration/index.htm〉 (accessed June 7, 2006).

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