Most Of California's Prop. 187 Ruled Unconstitutional

LOS ANGELES (AllPolitics, March 19) -- A U.S. District Court judge has declared most of California's Proposition 187 unconstitutional.

Approved by voters in 1994, the proposition would have denied health care, education and welfare benefits to illegal immigrants. Almost immediately, Judge Mariana Pfaelzer granted its opponents' request for a restraining order, which prevented it from taking effect.

In her final ruling, Pfaelzer rejected California's attempt to regulate immigration, which she said is the federal government's responsibility.

Judge Pfaelzer's ruling strikes down portions of the initiative that would have required law enforcement, teachers, social service and health care workers to verify a person's immigration status. Under Proposition 187, they would have had to report illegals to authorities and to deny them social service, health care and education benefits.

The American Civil Liberties Union's Southern California chapter was one of the five groups which sued to stop Proposition 187. In a statement, ACLU spokesman Mark Rosenbaum said Pfaelzer correctly denied California's attempt to regulate immigration.

"[It is] not a matter for individual states to attempt to formulate their own rules and procedures," Rosenbaum said. "School teachers and doctors are not substitutes for INS agents."

But California Gov. Pete Wilson, who supports Proposition 187, vowed to appeal, "so that the will of the people can be upheld."

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Thursday March 19, 1998

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