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Wilson Acts to Enforce Parts of Prop. 187; 8 Lawsuits Filed : Immigration: The governor orders prenatal care halted while a San Francisco judge bars exclusion from school. O.C. school administrators promise not to report children to officials.


The battle over Proposition 187 shifted quickly from the ballot box to courtrooms, to government chambers and the streets Wednesday as Californians, in a resounding Election Day mandate, ushered in a new era of stern restrictions against illegal immigrants.

Acting immediately to implement the measure for which he so vigorously campaigned, newly reelected Gov. Pete Wilson issued a toughly worded executive order directing health care providers to discontinue prenatal services and new admissions to nursing homes for illegal immigrants.

"The people of California have passed Proposition 187, now we must enforce it," said Wilson at a morning press conference at a Los Angeles hotel.

But critics of the controversial initiative had other plans, filing at least eight lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout California.

By midafternoon, a San Francisco Superior Court judge, acting on a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Unified School districts and the California School Boards Assn., temporarily barred enforcement of the proposition's requirement that illegal immigrants be excluded from California public schools.

In a separate action, the judge extended the order to public colleges and universities.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a federal district judge presiding over a legal challenge brought by civil rights groups ordered that he be notified of any "substantive" enforcement of the initiative prior to a court hearing he scheduled for next Wednesday. But spokesmen for Wilson and Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren said they would proceed in implementing the non-education portions of the initiative because the judge did not directly order them to halt such actions.

Among the rapid-fire developments Wednesday following the measure's overwhelming passage by a 59%-41% margin:

* Orange County school administrators promised not to report children to immigration officials, urging parents to keep students in schools, while health and social services workers said they had no immediate plans for implementing the initiative. Small groups of high school and college students staged small rallies and discussions on campuses in Santa Ana and Fullerton, denouncing Wilson and the initiative and promising to get Latinos more involved in the political process. Local officials also pledged to join statewide lawsuits challenging Proposition 187.

* The Los Angeles City Council voted 10-3 to direct city employees not to enforce any provisions of the measure, except its crackdown on the sale and possession of fake identity documents, until legal challenges have been completed. The council also voted to pursue legal action to overturn the initiative, which bans illegal immigrants from government-funded non-emergency services and requires local officials to report those suspected of being illegal immigrants to state and federal authorities.

* Religious leaders and city officials urged residents to remain calm and called on parents to continue sending their children to school. "I urge all Angelenos to ignore rumors and to continue to express their opinions regarding this law in a peaceful manner," said Mayor Richard Riordan.

* Clinton Administration officials said they would take no "precipitous" action to cut federal funding to California for health, education and social welfare programs, saying they would prefer to wait for the results of litigation aimed at thwarting the measure. Analysts have said that as much as $15 billion in annual federal funding is at risk because of certain of the initiative's requirements.

* Several small anti-187 rallies took place, including evening demonstrations Downtown and at Cal State Los Angeles, where about 250 protesters appeared. About 20 of the campus demonstrators were arrested after staging a sit-in that disrupted the opening of a fine arts complex.


Gov. Wilson, who used illegal immigration as a central focus of his reelection campaign, moved quickly Wednesday to begin implementing the get-tough Proposition 187.

"Starting today, we insist that California be a state that can set its own priorities," the governor announced at his dramatic morning press conference.

Unveiling a two-page executive order, Wilson declared that prenatal services for illegal immigrants would "be discontinued as soon as legally possible."

The savings of about $84 million a year would be redirected to legal residents of California, the governor said. As a result, he said, about 1,000 additional working poor women could be served each month.

Wilson also directed that future admissions to long-term nursing home programs be granted only to legal residents. A spokeswoman later said the savings would amount to about $6 million a year since the state currently pays for relatively few illegal immigrants to live in nursing homes.

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