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GARDEN GROVE : Council Unwavering in Support of Prop. 187

October 24, 1994|BERT ELJERA

The City Council has stood firm in its support for the Nov. 8 ballot measure that would deny illegal immigrants a variety of services, despite pleas from about a dozen speakers to reconsider the decision.

Councilman Ho Chung, who abstained when the council voted in September to endorse Proposition 187, joined the endorsement last week, saying that U.S. immigration laws must be enforced.

"I have compassion for people who are forced, for whatever reason, to leave their place of birth," said Chung, who emigrated from South Korea more than 20 years ago. "But if you come to a country, you must follow its laws."

But several speakers at Tuesday's meeting said that it was wrong for the council to take a position on an issue that is beyond its jurisdiction.

"Let individual voters decide," said Pam Harris. "That's why it's on the ballot. I don't think this is something the council should be associated with."

Dietrich Nicholson said the council should either stay neutral or oppose the ballot measure, which he said is "unenforceable and will not do anything to stop illegal crossings."

Other speakers said Proposition 187 would create larger problems, such as increased crime.

"I'd rather see these people in schools than in prison," said Joseph Chaikin. He said that as many as 30,000 youths could be kicked out of school if the measure passes.

Proposition 187 would bar children of illegal immigrants from attending public schools, in addition to denying them non-emergency health care and other social services.

"I don't want my tax dollars spent on people who are here illegally," said resident Bill Walker, who supports the measure.

The council, which last month voted 3 to 0, with two abstentions, to support the measure, did not take a second vote last Tuesday.

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