Anti Immigration Essay
What surprised Pete Wilson and his Republican colleagues was that their plan to push people to the margins of society achieved the exact opposite.
People were so outraged, so motivated, and so galvanized by this blatant attack on their American Dream that they moved out of the shadows and pledged to show the world that they were real people with real hopes and real aspirations. The first, on February 28, 1994 in Los Angeles, was 20,000 strong; many of the attendees were people who, just a few short months earlier, were nervous about attending parents’ night at their child’s school for fear of running into authorities who would deport them.
They took a few minutes to pick up the trash around them.
Just as we were demanding not to be taken for granted, we were not taking our community and our country for granted.
Many other Latino political pioneers—from the legislator Richard Polanco, to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to the late labor chief Miguel Contreras—came of age during the fight over 187.
And, more broadly, because of Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s high-profile support for 187, Latinos were cemented firmly to the Democratic Party during a time when the Latino vote was still up for grabs.
Worse, it required various public officials in public agencies to report people whom they “suspected” were not documented to authorities.
Essentially, not only would it have kicked millions of Latinos out of hospitals, schools, and other public places, but it would also have created a witch-hunt atmosphere, allowing for people to be turned in for simply “seeming” illegal.
As I’ve listened to Donald Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants in general and Latinos in particular, I hear what many California politicians were saying 23 years ago.
It’s often said that California is just like America, only sooner.
We confront the same issues as the rest of the nation, just earlier.
For those too young to remember, Prop 187 would have barred all undocumented immigrants from using public health care facilities, public education, and many other publicly funded services.
Yes, you read that right: It would have barred hospitals, schools, and other vital services from people who needed them.