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Calif. Wants Alien Appeals Dropped

July 30, 1999

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ California will join in asking a federal court to halt appeals of a voter-approved ban on schooling and other public benefits for illegal immigrants, ending the state’s efforts to revive the measure.

An agreement was reached between Gov. Gray Davis and other parties involved in the legal challenge during mediation.

In announcing the agreement on Thursday, Davis said much the proposition’s aims area already covered by federal law.

``We have resolved a divisive wedge issue in a way that is fair to the voters, the constitution and the law,″ said Davis, a Democrat who also opposed the measure.

The negotiations did not include supporters of Prop. 187, which was approved in 1994 by a 59 percent margin.

``All the voters who voted for Proposition 187 were without a voice in the litigation,″ said Sharon Browne, a lawyer for those who drafted the proposition and opposed the deal.

Attempts to save Proposition 187 began with Davis’ predecessor, Pete Wilson. The Republican governor appealed after a federal judge ruled most of the ballot measure unconstitutional last year. Rather than deciding whether to drop or pursue the appeal, Davis sent the matter to federal mediation after taking office.

Wilson told the Los Angeles Times that the mediation process was ``like negotiating with yourself.″

Prop. 187 sought to exclude illegal immigrants from public schools and from other social services including non-emergency health care, and required state and local officials and service providers to report suspected illegal immigrants to federal authorities.

Some laws that mirror its provisions were in place long before the divisive ballot measure, and others were inspired by it.

The only part of Proposition 187 left intact is a provision imposing tougher penalties on those who sell or use false identification documents to hide their true citizenship.

U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer has until Sept. 30 to approve or reject the agreement.

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