Californians Vote to Limit Aid to Undocumented Immigrants (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: Sixty percent of California’s voters approved a ballot proposition to limit the public services available to undocumented immigrants.
A Vote to Restrict Services
On November 8, 1994, approximately 60 percent of the voters of California marked their ballots in favor of Proposition 187, the so-called Save Our State or SOS initiative. The proposition had been drafted by a conservative Orange County businessman. This legislation would end state-funded education and welfare benefits for illegal aliens. It also limits publicly funded medical assistance available to illegal aliens. They could be treated only in life-threatening emergencies requiring immediate attention. Under provisions of the proposition, teachers and physicians must report illegal aliens to the immigration authorities.
The state of California, hard pressed by an economic downturn and by a series of natural disasters including earthquakes, fires, and floods, was home to an estimated 1.6 million illegal aliens. Many of them held minimum-wage jobs that most Americans were reluctant to fill. The estimated annual cost to California for services related to illegal immigrants exceeded $3 billion. How much of this was offset by various taxes paid by these workers was a subject of debate.
Both supporters and opponents of Proposition 187 agreed that this legislation was unconstitutional, violating both the equal protection...
(The entire section is 946 words.)
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