Friday, May 25

Proposition 187 won’t ‘save our state’


Proposition 187, the so-called "Save Our State" initiative on
the Nov. 8 ballot, isn’t really about "saving" California, nor is
it about finding alternatives or solutions to illegal
immigration.

It’s about scare tactics. It’s about politicians capitalizing on
anti-immigrant sentiment and playing on people’s racisms. It’s
about statewide recession and the fact that it’s re-election
time.

If passed, Proposition 187 would deny most government services -
including education and health care – to all illegal immigrants. To
identify those who would be denied those services, Proposition 187
would require school teachers, police officers and health care
providers to turn the names of any individuals they suspect of
being undocumented immigrants into authorities.

Who would become suspect, then? All people of color.

Imagine having your rights taken away just because someone
thought you "looked like" an undocumented person. Under Proposition
187, anyone suspected of being an undocumented person could risk
having services denied to them – except in emergency medical
situations – until they could prove their residency status.
Potentially, this could postpone medical care or education, even to
legal California residents.

Should children be forced to carry papers proving their
citizenship? Should schoolteachers be obligated to single out their
students and report them to the government? The answer is no!

Proposition 187 isn’t just unconstitutional – it’s a platform
for racism. And that’s just the foundation of this initiative’s
problems.

The initiative purports to "save our state," or, in other words,
save our state’s money by denying undocumented persons the use of
taxpayer-funded public services. But what the initiative’s
proponents don’t publicize is the fact that if implemented, state
schools would actually lose federal funding and the administrative
costs of keeping people away from those state schools and other
services would skyrocket. From a purely economic standpoint,
Proposition 187 would cost the state more money than it would
save.

If passed, by some accounts, Proposition 187 could kick as many
as 400,000 schoolchildren out of California’s schools. And
according to the U.S. Secretary of Education, California would lose
more than $3 billion – and that includes federal education funding
to public universities like UCLA.

Thousands of people would be left without education or health
care services. And everyone in the state of California – not just
undocumented immigrants – would lose.

As UCLA students today, think about what would have happened to
you had you not had access to a public education when you were
younger, for whatever reason. Would you have made it to college?
Would you have been able to support yourself? Proposition 187 could
cut off potential for improvement and advancement, in more ways
than one.

Anyone who believes that a piece of legislation that takes away
education and health care could get California out of a recession
is not only wrong, they’re misled. And anyone who believes that
they’ll get elected by enacting legislation that would scapegoat
people of color?

Unfortunately, the anti-immigrant sentiments expressed in
Proposition 187 aren’t new – historically, every time there’s any
kind of societal or economic distress, the "outsider" is
pinpointed.

Remember the Salem witch-hunts? The thousands of
Japanese-Americans quarantined in internment camps during World War
II?

But that’s not all. The paradox of Proposition 187 is the fact
that, having identified illegal immigration as a source of
California’s problems, the initiative doesn’t even beef up border
patrol or find other ways to stop the flow of illegal immigration
into the state. It merely cuts off opportunities for all California
residents, and tries to blame someone, anyone, for California’s
unsteady economy.

At the heart of the issue, Proposition 187 capitalizes on
anti-immigrant sentiments instead of finding solutions to illegal
immigration. And that’s a problem.

But you can do something about it. The November elections are
rapidly approaching. Register to vote, and learn about the issues
for yourself. Attend the Proposition 187 rally Thursday, Oct. 6 at
1 p.m. in Westwood Plaza. When you go to the polls Nov. 8, don’t
let politicians paper over California’s problems – illegal
immigration, economics or otherwise. On Nov. 8, vote No! on
Proposition 187.

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