The Big 187 Spin
A Brief History of California’s Proposition 187

 (Watch video news clips from 1999)

Glenn Spencer – The American Patrol Report – April 27, 2010

 In 1994 the long-suffering people of California passed Proposition 187. Much like SB 1070 in Arizona, 187 was designed fight against illegal immigration.  In the case of 187 the approach was to cut off funding, including free schooling.  Alan C. Nelson, one of the principal authors of 187, fully expected it to be tested in the courts.  In fact, it was specifically designed to test the Plyler vs. Doe Supreme Court decision that held that all U.S. public schools had to accept anyone who showed up at their doorstep, regardless of immigration status.

 As expected, 187 was challenged in the courts, and, after four years of deliberate delay, Judge Marianna Pfaelzer ruled some of it unconstitutional.  Instead of defending the decision of the people of his state in the courts, as was his duty, California Gov. Gray Davis put 187 into mediation.

There were many problems with mediating a constitutional issue in and of itself.  To make matters worse, Gov. Davis only invited opponents of 187 to determine its future.  This was a sham.  The result was that 187 was not tested at the appellate level and Alan Nelson’s hope of testing Plyer vs. Doe was dashed.

Before he decided to “mediate” 187, Davis met with Mexican President Zedillo and struck a deal to kill it. On Aug. 4, 1999, the Los Angeles Times carried a front-page photo of the President of Mexico along side Antonio Villaraigosa, then Speaker of the California Assembly, and now Mayor of Los Angeles, applauding Gov. Davis’ decision to kill 187. 

“As leader of the state Assembly, I say President Zedillo had great impact in defeating 187,” Villaraigosa told a news conference after he and a state delegation met with the Mexican chief executive. (L.A. Times, Aug. 4, 1999).

 It gets worse.  One of the mediators even admitted that 187 was killed because they feared it would be found constitutional. “Carlos Holguin, the Human Rights and Constitutional Law Center's Attorney, said that the process of negotiating that the litigating parties followed to reach this conclusion avoided a greater risk that the case would go to the Supreme Court and the right to education of the undocumented would be lost. " (La Opinion, Aug. 1, 1999)

And who runs the Human Rights and Constitutional Law Center?  Peter Schey – the man who argued the Plyer vs. Doe case before the Supreme Court that forced all U.S. schools to educate anyone who showed up on their doorstep.

So the man who was largely responsible for the need for Prop. 187 was instrumental in killing it.

All of these things are well documented. Despite this, most of the mainstream media continue to insist that Proposition 187 was killed by the courts. It was not – California Gov. Gray Davis and Ernesto Zedillo, the President of Mexico killed it.

Today’s New York Times includes a feature by the editors entitled “Will Arizona’s Immigration Law Survive?

It opens up with this paragraph.

Arizona’s tough new immigration enforcement law, which was signed on Friday, will face many legal challenges before it goes into effect this summer. Some opponents of the law, the toughest in the nation, predict that it will suffer the same fate as California’s Proposition 187, which was passed in 1994 but never carried out because of legal setbacks and political opposition.

That’s right.  Proposition 187, a law passed by the people of the State of California, was never implemented because of “political opposition.” At least the NY Times is struggling to maintain some semblance of journalistic integrity.


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