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Prop. 187: A Chorus of Views

November 06, 1994

Father Richard Estrada

Executive director, Jovenes Inc.

It's a distraction from much bigger issues. Migration is a natural human process. People have been going back and forth since time began. We, as a civilized society, haven't been able to grab hold of that. The powers that be, the wealthy, are the ones who take advantage of immigrants. People go where there are jobs. We are providers. There is something that they need here. We're not looking at sanctions on employers. Workers are being exploited and we're not looking at that. We have to look at immigration as responsible human beings. If people don't get a proper education or proper health care, we're going to have an all-out epidemic.

It's in our own self-interest to provide services. The way to address immigration is by dialogue. The same with education. Who's going to benefit from this? How does society as a whole benefit? How can we share resources so that we can all benefit?

* Bill Baum

Businessman; resident of South Gate for 53 years

I feel strongly about the fact that these people are here getting services. I don't feel it's fair to people who come here legally or were born here, like myself. I grew up in Corona, which used to be a small town that was largely Latino, and I have no racially motivated ill will against illegal immigrants. But I do feel they are a drain on our tax base, and I feel something should definitely be done.

* Joe Hicks

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Our board took a very strong stand against Proposition 187. We don't think it will work politically because it does not, in fact, aim its strength at illegal immigration at all. We do not think it will work fiscally--in fact, it will cost us money. Lots of money will come out of even the local school district. And, of course, health care money will also be lost from money the federal government sends into the state. Then morally, I think the decision was made to oppose Proposition 187 because it targets, we think, some of the most vulnerable people in our society--children, particularly--in terms of disallowing education and disallowing immunizations and health-care treatment.

* Mark Matsumura

Clergyman

I'm really sold on this bill. We have three major problems in California. One is education. Another is safety issues and another is business revitalization. I believe California collects enough taxes, but billions are funneled away to pay for illegal immigrants. This proposition will improve our education system, and I also believe this will bring more jobs to our state.

This is a responsible bill, a reasonable bill that will cut government waste--basically going to illegal aliens--and I think this will save taxpayers' dollars to be used for the taxpayers and not non-taxpayers.

I'm third-generation Japanese and my mother is Korean. My parents were subject to concentration camps during World War II. I don't think American history is going to revert back to such racist times. However, I think that's the fear tactic that the proposition's opponents are putting on. This has nothing to do with legal immigrants.

* Jesus Escandon

Teacher, Eastman Avenue School in East Los Angeles

I feel bad because as an educator, you want to shed knowledge and wisdom on all children regardless of legal status. There are no frontiers or boundaries to knowledge. I feel bad that because of legal status, you won't be able to reach a particular individual. Had this proposition been proposed 15 years ago, I would have never made it to UCLA or become a teacher. (Escandon came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant and graduated from UCLA in 1992.) If this was around 15 years ago, I would have never made it out of the barrio here in East L.A. Personally, I would have to report myself before I reported a child to the INS, because it is like turning my back on myself and my community.

* Bobbi Murray

Coalition for Humane Immigrant

Rights of Los Angeles

Proposition 187 doesn't really get at the issue. People come here for work. They leave their homelands not because they dislike their homelands but because they have no alternative. Proposition 187 is just really a cruel, coldhearted way to punish people who are already here and working very hard to survive and to make their contribution to society. Dealing with issues in 30-second sound bites relies on visceral, emotional arguments that don't really get at the issue.

This proposition creates a climate of fear and suspicion. A lot of our work has to do with the rights of immigrants and a primary right is the right to work and to live without fear of harassment.

The economy has eroded, there's no plan for conversion, jobs have left the state. All these fears about the economy and what's going on focuses on a group of people who had nothing to do with it. They're not responsible for the military-industrial complex closing down.

* Ezola Foster

Teacher, Bell High; member of Americans for Family Values

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