Latino Caucus Celebrates Senate’s Passage of Bill Erasing Prop. 187 From California Books

August 21, 2014

SACRAMENTO – The California State Senate voted 33-0 in favor of Senate Bill 396, authored by Senate President Pro Tempore-elect Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) and California Latino Legislative Caucus Chairman Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach), which will remove all unconstitutional provisions of Proposition 187 from state laws. The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown for consideration.

“Today, California is turning the page on the mean-spirited and divisive Proposition 187,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “While we can never forget the pain this caused countless immigrant communities throughout California, we can look toward a brighter future where immigrants are treated with the dignity and respect that should be afforded to any human being. Not one vote was cast against this measure in the Senate signaling the understood importance of erasing this dark moment in California politics from our books.”

Proposition 187, the brain-child of anti-immigrant activists led by Governor Pete Wilson in his efforts to secure re-election, was a pernicious and unabashed attempt to incriminate immigrants.

Approved by the voters 59% to 41%, Proposition 187 would have prohibited undocumented immigrants and their citizen children from going to the doctor and accessing the most basic of public services—an education. It would have made every teacher, doctor, social worker, and local police officer mandatory immigration reporters, meaning they would have had to report mothers, fathers and children suspected of being undocumented to federal authorities--turning ordinary Californians into I.N.S. agents for the federal government.

Added Latino Caucus Vice Chairman Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Salinas): “The passage of SB 396 is a symbolic victory that means a great deal to immigrant communities in California. Prop 187 was the catalyst for a movement that unified the immigrant community and pushed them to take strides towards progress. Repealing Prop 187’s malicious language from California statutes is a sign that our society is headed towards a more inclusive future.”

The Proposition 187 campaign was labeled S.O.S.—“Save our State”—as if the state was under siege from marauding hoards here to pillage our communities. The campaign attacked the immigrants who serve as the backbone of our agricultural industry and supply the workforce for our tourist and service industries.

The federal courts quickly ruled that virtually the entire attack on immigrants was unconstitutional and Proposition 187 was never implemented. However it still remains in the California code books. 

On June 23, 2014, the 20th anniversary of Proposition 187 qualifying for the statewide ballot, both the Senate and Assembly held ceremonies recalling that sad chapter in our state’s history. The measure passed the California Senate with no opposition by a vote of 33-0.

SB 396 now advances to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.


Contact: Jesse Melgar / (916) 651-4033 /