- LOS ANGELES TIMES
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
- Judge's Final Ruling Scraps Proposition 187
From Associated Press
The long court fight over Proposition 187, which sought to bar illegal immigrants from
receiving public benefits and services, was ended Monday by the federal judge who first
found most of the initiative unconstitutional in 1994.
U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer approved a July agreement between the state and
civil rights groups to drop remaining challenges to her rulings that Proposition 187
violated the U.S. Constitution.
Her original ruling, issued shortly after voters passed the initiative, barred
enforcement of most of Proposition 187's provisions.
Proposition 187, which was approved by nearly 60% of California voters, would have
denied public education, social services and nonemergency health care to illegal
immigrants, who were already ineligible for most health and welfare benefits under
The measure would also have required teachers, doctors and other service providers to
report suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities.
Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern
California, called the ruling "the final shovel of dirt on the grave of Proposition 187."
Pfaelzer issued a follow-up ruling in 1997 that the core of the initiative conflicted with
the federal government's exclusive authority to regulate immigration. She said the
education ban conflicted with a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that required Texas to keep
public schools available to all residents regardless of immigration status.
Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, took office after his Republican predecessor, Pete Wilson,
had challenged the judge's ruling. At Davis' request, a mediator supervised negotiations
with Proposition 187 opponents, resulting in the July agreement by Davis not to appeal
All that will remain of Proposition 187 are two relatively minor laws that establish
state criminal penalties for the manufacture and use of false documents to conceal illegal
- Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved