By Andrew Hucks |Staff Writer|
It’s been nearly 20 years since Proposition 187 was passed in California barring illegal immigrants from using publicly funded education and healthcare.
According to a recent poll by USC Dornsife/LA Times, sentiments have swayed quite a bit in favor of leniency on illegal immigrants already here, while getting more stiff on border security and enforcement.
Proposition 187 has five major sections: it barred illegal immigrants from using public education and public health clinics, required proof of legal status for cash assistance, required service providers to report illegals to the INS, and it made the use of false documents a felony, according to Migration News at UC Davis.
The constitutionality of Proposition 187 was challenged in court multiple times. Within three days of the passing of the proposition Federal Judge Matthew Byrne put a restraining order on it which was eventually turned into a permanent injunction against all aspects except false documentation and higher education.
According to the LA Times, “If placed on the ballot today, a measure similar to Proposition 187 would be supported by 46 percent of voters, according to the poll, with 44 percent against — a statistical tie, given the 2.9 percent margin of error. In 1994, by contrast, the proposition passed with 59 percent of the vote.”
This statistic alone shows the widespread shift to tolerance over the last 20 years, due in large part to the growing number of Latino voters.
In 1994 only 8 percent of the voting population was Latino and only 23 percent of Latino voters favored Proposition 187.
Today its up to 33 percent in favor while the number of Latino voters have increased to 20 percent. Pollsters say that second and third generation immigrants are actually taking a much harder stance on tolerance than on previous polls.
“Foreign-born Latinos opposed Proposition 187 by nearly 2 to 1 in this month’s poll, while only 48 percent of third-generation Latinos were against it,” according to the LA Times.
An exit poll the day of the 1994 election found that, “63 percent of whites voted for the proposition. White respondents in the latest poll remain in favor, but by a narrower 51-41 percent margin.”
White voters are becoming more exposed to illegal immigrants, becoming friends and family, so tolerance is on the rise.
Yet Californians are overwhelmingly for President Obama’s plan the give temporary work permits and a two-year reprieve from deportation for young adults who were smuggled in illegally at a young age.
“I think Obama is doing the right thing giving work visas to young immigrants, they shouldn’t be punished for being raised here,” said Brian Meinhardt. “Giving them the chance to become legal citizens will help the economy in the long run.”
The time for change is now; we as a country need to make up our minds so we can have a functioning immigration policy.
“The biggest problem with illegals isn’t them, per se, but that no one is fixing it,” said one poll respondent of Mexican ancestry, Cari Penhall. “If we keep giving them all this, the government is never going to fix it. They need to come up with a comprehensive plan that actually works [… ] I just want something to get done.”