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We lost the battle: Prop 187 passed, though it was later deemed unconstitutional and was never implemented.
On October 16, just a couple of weeks before the election, we staged another march, from Boyle Heights to City Hall. It was religious and civic and elected and community leaders, marching in solidarity with us.
And this time, we were 100,000 people—standing up for the American Dream, and standing up to say that American opportunity isn’t just for the few able to get through an arcane, Byzantine, broken immigration system. I’ll never forget one telling moment: When that march was over, people didn’t just go home.
For those too young to remember, Prop 187 would have barred all undocumented immigrants from using public health care facilities, public education, and many other publicly funded services.
Yes, you read that right: It would have barred hospitals, schools, and other vital services from people who needed them.
It’s often said that California is just like America, only sooner.
We confront the same issues as the rest of the nation, just earlier.
For anybody wondering why Republicans can no longer win statewide offices in California, look no further than the legacy of this blatant attempt to disenfranchise Latinos.
As I’ve listened to Donald Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants in general and Latinos in particular, I hear what many California politicians were saying 23 years ago.
Like them, Trump is appealing to people with very real economic concerns by scapegoating an entire class of people who are not the cause of it.
Just as 187’s backers avoided the very real and very difficult challenges of adapting to a new kind of economy, Trump is evoking a past that never really existed as somehow “great again.” He is also ignoring data as he pursues demagoguery.