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OXNARD : Council Opposes Immigrant Initiative

After listening to a torrent of testimony from opponents of Proposition 187, the Oxnard City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to formally oppose the “Save Our State” initiative.

The measure, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, would deny schooling, non-emergency health care and other public benefits to illegal immigrants.

Steve Frank of Simi Valley, a lobbyist who is coordinating the Ventura County campaign in support of the initiative, described illegal immigrants as lawbreakers who are depriving U. S. citizens of opportunity and a better life.

“When you talk about people who are stealing prenatal care, welfare, jobs and other services from our rightful citizens, those are the bigots, and those are the people who are mean-spirited,” Frank said.

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But everyone else who spoke before the council condemned the measure, which they said was racist and impossible to enforce.

“Basically, the initiative is blatant immigrant- and Latino-bashing,” said Michael Rodriguez, president of the Ventura County chapter of the Mexican American Political Assn. “It comes at a time when we need to come together more than ever.”

Arturo Melgoza of Oxnard said the measure was an attempt to make Latinos scapegoats for the state’s woes.

“All Latinos come to this country to work, not to sit in front of the welfare office,” Melgoza said through an interpreter.

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Jean Harris of the Good Democratic Club of Oxnard said his group also opposes the measure.

“How can a school turn away the active mind of a child, and how could a doctor turn away someone who is ill? That is in effect what we would be doing,” Harris said.


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