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GOP Duo Hail Prop. 187 as State's Fiscal Savior : Immigration: At Anaheim rally, Rohrabacher and Dannemeyer contend that illegal immigration is jeopardizing California's future.

October 29, 1994|MARTIN MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — To counter what they called an onslaught of "negative propaganda," an Orange County congressman and a former congressman hailed Proposition 187 at a fund-raiser Friday night as the state's last best hope of saving itself from financial ruin.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and William Dannemeyer, a former seven-term Republican congressman from Fullerton, argued that supplying education, medical and welfare benefits to illegal immigrants is bankrupting the state and jeopardizing the future of the entire nation. Proposition 187 would prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving such public services.

"If this doesn't pass, the flood of illegal immigrants will turn into a tidal wave, and a huge neon sign will be lit up above the state of California that reads: 'Come and get it.' " Rohrabacher told a cheering and flag-waving crowd of about 100 initiative supporters.

"The state is in technical receivership," Dannemeyer said. "The people of this state are sick and tired of having laws being crushed under the feet of illegal aliens."

Both men attacked arguments that the initiative will abet an anti-immigrant, even racist, climate in America.

"The charge of racism is a tactic of intimidation that doesn't work anymore," Rohrabacher said. "It's meant to close out honest debate. This initiative isn't about racism. It's about whether foreigners should be coming here depleting the scarce resources of Americans."

The speakers praised the United States for being a diverse nation that was founded by immigrants.

Dannemeyer responded to former Republican Cabinet Secretaries Jack F. Kemp and William J. Bennett who last week condemned the measure, saying it would force teachers and nurses to function as immigration agents. Dannemeyer said school officials could easily check citizenship status with birth certificates already on file.

Organizers, who charged $20 to attend the event at the Phoenix Club, a German-heritage club, said money raised Friday night would help pay for television and radio ads in support of Proposition 187 in the next week.

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