California Coalition for Immigration Reform
P.O. Box 2744-PMB-117 - Huntington Beach, CA 92647
PH: (714) 665-2500 FAX: (714) 846-9682
History of Proposition 187
Prop 187 was passed by the voters on Nov. 8, 1994 to deny public benefits to illegal aliens in California.
The next day several lawsuits were filed in California state court (Mexican-American Legal Defense/Education Fund (MALDEF), League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), ACLU, and others.
On Nov. 11, 1994 a "temporary restraining order (TRO)" was issued by Federal Judge Matthew Byrne (it was filed in Federal Judge Marianna Pfaelzer's court, but she was out (vacation?), so Byrne did the TRO.
An answer was filed by Attorney General Dan Lungren in state court.
Judge Pfaelzer came back and issued a permanent injunction pending trial. Her rationale was essentially a case in Texas in the 1980's (Plyler v. Doe). Texas tried to deny public education to illegal aliens. The Supreme Court ruled for the illegals, based on two pillars:
1) there were supposedly not enough illegal aliens students in Texas public schools to be a financial burden to Texas, and
2) Congress was contemplating an amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S. (that occurred in 1986), and illegal alien students who were to be made legal would not be educated. Neither of those conditions existed in 1994.
The cases were consolidated into Judge Pfaelzer's court in 1995.
There were hearings, filings, hearings, filings ...
In 1996 California (Att'y Gen. Dan Lungren) said that Prop 187 was not in conflict with federal law.
In September 1996 federal immigration law was enacted, and in 1997 Lungren asked Judge Pfaelzer for a summary dismissal. (The 1996 federal law included Sec. 133 - that local law enforcement can cooperate with the INS)
Judge Pfaelzer said NO to summary dismissal and ruled for plaintiffs; Lungren said he'll appeal.
Lungren appealed in 9th District Circuit Court in late 1997. FOR SIX MONTHS LUNGREN TOOK NO ACTION - IT SAT THERE. HE SHOULD HAVE MOVED THE CASE ALONG!
Then came the gubernatorial campaign of 1998, and Gray Davis was elected in November. The appeal process was still sitting silently in court because Lungren had not moved it along.
Davis was elected. The plaintiffs requested "mediation" in the 9th District Court, the court agreed to "mediation".
We know what happened then - Davis (who vehemently opposed Prop 187) "represented" FOR Prop 187. Neither the proponent of Prop 187 nor anyone else who co-sponsored Prop 187 was allowed in the bogus "mediation".
Governor Davis refused to allow the appeal to proceed and dropped the appeal, essentially KILLING PROP 187 against the will of the voters. This after having promised to support the appeal during his campaign.
Even the most vocal plaintiffs against Prop 187 said they were afraid that if it went to the U.S. Supreme Court it would be held to be constitutional, reversing Plyler v. Doe.