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From the Archives: Protests against California Proposition 187

Prop 187
Oct. 16, 1994: Thousands march down Cesar Chavez Avenue near downtown Los Angeles denouncing Proposition 187, which would deny services to immigrants in the country illegally.
(Andy Scott/Los Angeles Times)

On June 23, 1994, the “Save Our State” initiative qualified for the California ballot. An Associated Press story in the next morning’s Los Angeles Times reported:

An initiative that would deny public education and social and health programs to illegal immigrants in California has qualified for the Nov. 8 statewide ballot.

The secretary of state’s office said Thursday that backers of the “Save Our State” measure turned in sufficient signatures.

The measure would deny many public services to illegal immigrants and would require police, teachers and health care workers to report suspected illegal immigrants to state and federal authorities. ...

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The “Save Our State” initiative became Proposition 187, nicknamed “Prop. 187.”

Most Republicans supported Proposition 187, while most Democrats opposed the measure. Large anti-Prop. 187 protests began in October. Large numbers of students -- leaving their schools -- joined the protests.

Prop 187
Oct. 6, 1994: Two hundred UCLA students march in protest of Proposition 187. Protests were held at about 20 other college and university campuses in California.
(Paul Morse/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Oct. 16, 1994: About 70,000 protesters against Proposition 187 gather at Los Angeles City Hall.
(Lori Shepler/Los Angeles Times)

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Prop 187
Oct. 21, 1994: About 200 students from Estancia High School in Costa Mesa march along Wake Forest Drive to protest Proposition 187.
(Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Oct. 23, 1994: Students hold banners and flags during a 10-kilometer walk-a-thon to raise money to produce and air commercials against Proposition 187.
(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Oct. 28, 1994: Los Angeles police officers arrest a student protester who allegedly verbally assaulted officers and tried to lead students in protest against Proposition 187 on Vanowen Street in Van Nuys. Officers in the background move protesters away from the street.
(Richard Derk/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Oct. 28, 1994: Student demonstrators from Monroe High School run toward a police blockade of Van Nuys High School during anti-Proposition 187 walkout.
(Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Oct. 28, 1994: Students from several Oxnard high schools skip classes and gather in Plaza Park in Oxnard to protest Proposition 187.
(Bruce K. Huff/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Oct. 30, 1994: Thousands of people gathered at East Los Angeles College’s Weingart Stadium for a concert and political rally to oppose Proposition 187 and acknowledge political candidates who also oppose the controversial proposition. American flags are waved after criticism of Mexican flags being used at previous protests.
(Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times)

Prop 187
Nov. 3, 1994: Graduate student Angel Cervantes, 22, of Claremont is an organizer of student protests against Proposition 187.
(Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times)
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Prop 187
Nov. 4, 1994: Barbara Coe , spokesperson for Proposition 187, displays literature distributed by anti-Proposition 187 group at a news conference called to denounce what her organization sees as encouragement from the schools to students who walk out to protest the proposition. At rear is Ron Prince of Proposition 187 organization, left, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Proposition 187 supporter.
(Iris Schneider/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Nov. 4, 1994: Eighth-grader Raul Altamirano shows his opinion during debate on Proposition 187 at Lennox Middle School in Lennox.
(Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times)
Prop 187
Nov. 7, 1994: Protesters against Proposition 187 shout at a rally in front of City Hall. About 1,000 gathered for the protest a day before the election.
(Paul Morse/Los Angeles Times)

On Nov. 8, 1994, voters approved Proposition 187 by a wide margin of 59% to 41%. Lawsuits challenging Proposition 187’s constitutionality began.

On Nov. 11, 1994, federal Judge W. Matthew Bryne issued a temporary restraining order stopping enforcement of Proposition 187. Judge Mariana Pfaelzer followed in December 1994, with a permanent injunction blocking most provisions of the proposition.


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