Drive Begins To Revise Prop. 187
Opponents of illegal immigration have launched an Internet campaign.
Sharon Obsatz, The Press-Enterprise (Southern California), Feb. 12
Opponents of illegal immigration have launched an Internet campaign to collect petition signatures to put a revised version of the 1994 Prop. 187 on California’s November ballot.
Organizers of the ballot initiative, dubbed “Save Our State,” aim to collect 598,000 valid signatures by April 15 to qualify for the ballot. It would cut undocumented immigrants’ access to driver licenses and public benefits, such as subsidized housing, food stamps and health care.
The measure would also prohibit state and local agencies from accepting consular-issued cards as proof of identity. More than a dozen Inland cities, school districts and police departments currently accept the cards.
“I think the answer is to make it less pleasant, less attractive to be an illegal alien here,” said Murrieta resident Julie Gilbart, who has been collecting petition signatures outside a local store.
Proposition proponent Ron Prince said his organization, the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, is relying on volunteer petition collectors, including a Temecula area group that presented him 1,000 signatures on Friday.
Prince announced Wednesday an online petition drive at www.SAVE187.com. He cited the Recall Gray Davis campaign, which collected more than 800,000 signatures from petitions from the Internet.
Immigrant advocates will wait to see whether the initiative qualifies for the ballot before mobilizing against it, said the Rev. Patricio Guillen, executive director of the San Bernardino immigrant services organization Libreria del Pueblo.
He argues that measure supporters, “super right wingers,” can’t outvote moderates, Guillen said. The proposed proposition calls for state and local authorities to report immigration violators to federal authorities.
Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle has said it would overwhelm his deputies to have immigration enforcement added to their duties, sheriff spokesman Dennis Gutierrez said.
In 1994, Prop. 187 won the support of 70 percent of voters in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The courts later ruled much of it unconstitutional.
The California Republican Party backed the previous effort, but probably will not do so this time, said Max Neiman, a UC Riverside political science professor. Whether it gets on the ballot might depend on whether someone bankrolls paid petition collectors, he said.
If it does make it on the ballot, “it’ll be a closer fight (than in 1994),” Neiman said. “I don’t think it will have a problem passing, especially in our area.”