City Councilman Gilbert Cedillo announced plans Thursday for an immigrant-rights rally to mark the 25th anniversary of California’s Proposition 187 being declared unconstitutional.
Twenty-five years ago, California voters approved the measure that would have barred immigrants living in the country illegally from accessing the state’s welfare system, non-emergency health care, public education and other services or benefits, but a federal court quickly ruled that the measure violated the U.S. Constitution.
The state initially appealed the ruling, but abandoned the challenge five years later.
Cedillo said the struggles immigrants faced with Prop. 187 echo the challenges they continue to face.
“Now we have something far more consequential at the national level,” Cedillo said.
A rally to support immigrant rights is planned by the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 at the corner of Lorena Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard in East Los Angeles. Participants will then march to the corner of Spring and First streets in downtown Los Angeles.
“Our nation is in crisis, and it has been in crisis since Donald Trump announced his campaign,” Cedillo said. “Never in the history of our nation has a serious presidential candidate run a campaign explicitly attacking Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Latinos and immigrants.”
He said such attacks on immigrants echo the motivations behind Prop. 187, whose backers tried to “scapegoat immigrants and blame them for the ills of a poor economy and the ills of the state at that time.”
“It was a failure, it was evasive and it was backward-looking,” Cedillo said. “This is what’s taking place today on a much greater scale.”
Trump has repeatedly assailed illegal immigration as a threat to national security and has lashed out at Los Angeles and so-called sanctuary cities for providing havens to people living in the country illegally, in defiance of federal immigration authorities. He made issue a centerpoint of his presidential campaign, anchored by his pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, funded by Mexico.
Cedillo said the lessons of Prop. 187’s fate should not be forgotten.
“In large part, (California) is leading the resistance to Trump because of the popular response to 187,” Cedillo said.
According to the Pew Research Center, Los Angeles and Orange counties in 2017 were home to about 10% of the nation’s 11.1 million immigrants who are in the country illegally.
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