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TUSTIN : Council Endorses SOS Ballot Measure

The city in which Proposition 187 was born has endorsed the controversial statewide initiative that targets illegal immigration.

Known as Save Our State, the November ballot measure would bar illegal immigrants from attending public schools and prevent them from receiving social services or non-emergency public health care.

Polls show widespread voter support for Proposition 187, which has been endorsed by the California Republican Party. Opponents include Latino rights organizations, immigrant activists and a broad coalition of religious leaders, health care professionals and school officials.

“This is where the initiative began, almost one year (ago) today,” Ron Prince told the City Council on Monday. Prince, a Tustin accountant, co-authored the ballot measure and is co-chairing its statewide campaign.

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After hearing Prince’s presentation, the council voted unanimously and without comment to support the ballot initiative.

The action came two weeks after the council unanimously passed a resolution urging Congress to address as a top priority issue “the escalating numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border into California.”

The resolution, which is similar to one adopted by the League of California Cities, cites the “severe negative fiscal and social impacts” that illegal immigrants create for state and local governments.

The resolution also notes that the proximity of the Border Patrol checkpoint, which it contends is “inadequately equipped to detain illegal immigrants,” has resulted in high-speed chases that endanger the lives of Orange County residents.

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In his presentation to the council, Prince said that “we would like to determine who is here legally and who is not.” He estimated that there will be 3 million illegal immigrants in the United States by the end of the decade.

Of that number, about 40% come from Mexico, he said, and the rest are from “virtually every country in the world.” Many of these people tend to be uneducated and unskilled, Prince contended.

Prince seemed especially concerned about the estimated 400,000 undocumented children he said are attending U.S. public schools.

“We are taking money away from our own children to give it to others,” Prince said.

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Some critics have characterized Save Our State as an invitation to officially harass foreign-born people. The measure could result in undereducated children roaming the streets, prone to contagious diseases and drawn to crime, critics contend.

Opponents of Save Our State also point out that illegal immigrants help support California’s economy by providing low-wage labor and paying taxes.

Even if Proposition 187 passes in November, the provision barring illegal immigrants from receiving public education might never be implemented. In a landmark case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that illegal immigrant children are entitled to attend public schools.

An analysis by the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst’s office found that the initiative could put at risk as much as $15 billion in federal funds now provided to California for health, education and welfare programs.

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