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Judge Blocks Part Of Measure to Rein in Illegals With PM-ELN--Propositions; PM-ELN--Prop

November 9, 1994

Judge Blocks Part Of Measure to Rein in Illegals With PM-ELN--Propositions; PM-ELN--Prop 187-What Now?; PM-ELN--Prop 187-Mexico

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ As police braced for protests, a judge today blocked enforcement of the part of a bitterly fought California ballot measure that requires illegal immigrants to be expelled from public schools.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stuart Pollak also barred enforcement of Proposition 187′s requirement that undocumented immigrants be kicked out of the state’s public colleges and universities.

Pollak noted that the proposition, approved Tuesday by nearly 6 in 10 voters, conflicts with a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring states to provide a public education to all residents.

Attorney General Dan Lungren’s office opposed Pollak’s restraining order, saying it was unnecessary because the measure would not be enforced immediately. Lungren has said he would fight for the measure to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

The ballot measure cuts off education and most health care to illegal immigrants and requires teachers and doctors to turn them in.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 59 percent of voters or 4,588,772 approved the measure and 41 percent or 3,179,548 opposed it.

A state still recovering from racial rioting three years ago waited edgily for the protests promised by students and Hispanic groups.

Several weeks of large demonstrations against the measure preceded the election. Today, as all available Los Angeles police officers waited on standby, school officials pleaded for students to go to class.

″We cannot harm California,″ the Rev. Pedro Villarroya, a Roman Catholic priest, urged an anti-Prop 187 rally. ″We cannot harm ourselves.″

Proposition 187 - viewed by various groups as sending a message on racism, taxes, the economy or fairness - was strongly supported by whites and just as strongly opposed by Hispanics. Asian-Americans and blacks both supported the measure, but more narrowly than whites.

″I feel that this initiative is very racist,″ said Lucy Castro, 17, a student in the east Los Angeles County city of Gardena.

But supporters insisted the measure was about fairness and the economy, not race.

″We are talking about illegal aliens,″ said Ron Prince, an Orange County businessman who helped write the measure. ″They are a category of criminal, not a category of ethnic group.″

Despite the defeat, some activists predicted that the vote would be a wake- up call to California’s growing Hispanic population, which remains largely disenfranchised.

″Pete Wilson and the pro-187 forces have done us a favor by getting young people active and involved in an issue,″ said U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Democrat who represents a heavily Hispanic district in Los Angeles. ″They won’t forget this.″

Hispanics will replace whites, currently the largest group of California’s 32 million people, as the largest segment of the population sometime shortly after the turn of the century. Hispanics comprise about 29 percent of the population; 54 percent are white.

Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari harshly criticized Proposition 187. ″The voices of intolerance have returned,″ Salinas said late Tuesday after the vote.

Mexican officials and newspapers have portrayed the ballot issue as a racist slap at Mexican workers who have worked at low-paying jobs in California for generations.

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