Letters to the Editor: 25 years after Prop. 187, California’s Latinos aren’t much better off

Protestors demonstrate against Proposition 187 in 1994
Thousands of protesters march in Los Angeles denouncing Proposition 187 in 1994.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As I reflect back on 1994 and the anti-immigrant Proposition 187, I recall how our community was being blamed for all of California’s woes. There was a profound lack of political power among Latinos.

Thanks to this racist proposition, our community got the message. We reasoned that we could not afford to be bystanders anymore. Latino green-card holders became citizens, and we began to vote in great numbers. Political power was won, and we were told that we were going to have a seat at the table.

Today, we now have a Latino speaker running the state Assembly, among other gains. So I guess the question is this: What else has been gained?


The answer is not much. We are still being attacked by anti-immigrant forces, but more of us are also homeless, and our kids have a substandard public education system. But hey, at least my new representative looks like me.

Chamba Sanchez, Los Angeles


To the editor: I remember a discussion my father and I had about Proposition 187.

I graduated from engineering school in 1988. I was not yet a U.S. citizen. I was running my own company with 40 employees, was married and had a young child. I told my father how unfairly we were being portrayed.

He said, “Son, you’d better hope it passes.” Wide eyed, I asked him what he meant. He said that if it passes, in 15 years there will not be a politician running for a statewide office who does not have to consider the Latino vote.

I became a U.S. citizen and have not missed voting in an election since then.

Nato Flores, Los Angeles


To the editor: In recent months I’ve noticed a number of prominent Democratic politicians sternly intone, “No one is above law.” Apparently, however, this standard does not apply to immigrants in the country illegally who violate a host of laws.

The Democrats’ need to increase their voter base obviously trumps a consistent effort to enforce all of our laws.

Geoffrey C. Church, Los Angeles


To the editor: Demographic dread is what motivates President Trump’s base.

This is the fear that many whites feel at the prospect of no longer being the majority group in the United States. Demographers predict this will happens in the 2040s, roughly one generation away.

This is the same sentiment that Proposition 187 tapped into 25 years ago. The result, as your article makes plain, was to make the GOP politically irrelevant in California.

Trump’s xenophobia will do the same to the GOP nationally.

Len Gardner, Dana Point