Over 22 years ago, 59 percent of California voters passed Proposition 187, a ballot measure designed to set up a state-run immigration system and deny most public benefits — including K-12 education — to undocumented immigrants. Proposition 187 was widely viewed as one of the harshest anti-immigrant measures in the country. Fortunately, this law was challenged in a legal suit and found unconstitutional by a federal district court.
Despite the fear-mongering taking place in the media today, California is a much better place now than it was 22 years ago. According to a field poll conducted by the Public Polling Institute of California in 2015, 75 percent of Californians say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to live and work here legally. In addition, a solid majority of California adults (65 percent) believe immigrants are a benefit to California because of their hard work and job skills.
California is a culturally diverse state, and we are no longer stuck in the angst of the 1990s. As we move into the New Year, this is our opportunity to lead the nation by showing this country we made a mistake when we passed Proposition 187, and we can never make that mistake again.
Andrea Devitt, San Luis Obispo