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Proposition 187 Made Immigration A Key Issue In California Politics. Tell Us What You Remember

Hundreds of protesters gather at Los Angeles City Hall, Nov. 7, 1994, demonstrating against the so-called "Save Our State" proposition, Prop 187. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) (Nick Ut/AP)
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In 1994, a measure on the November ballot in California promised change so widespread that it would "Save Our State," at least according to its proponents. That measure was Proposition 187, and it aimed to deny public services, like education and health care, to those living in the U.S. illegally.

Advocates saw it as a way to save an estimated $3 billion spent yearly on services for non-citizens who had circumvented our immigration laws. Opponents saw it as an attack on the state's growing minority population. It "was widely viewed as one of the harshest anti-immigrant measures in the country," the San Jose Mercury News wrote in 2014.

On Nov. 8, 1994, 59 percent of voters approved it.

Nonetheless, the state never got to see how Prop. 187 would play out. A day after the election, a federal judge granted opponents' request for a restraining order, which barred its implementation. In 1999, a court-approved mediation upheld that ruling.

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Next month marks 25 years since Prop. 187 was passed, and memories from that era -- the concurrent gubernatorial election, the protests, the pushback from the federal government, and everything in between -- may still linger. Or maybe they have changed your view of the world.

Some people think the measure was the catalyst that led California to become a blue state (others disagree). Then-Gov. Pete Wilson's overwhelming support for the measure is etched into his legacy. And in today's political climate, the ongoing debates about illegal immigration in the U.S. feel as relevant as they did a quarter-century ago.

Esperanza Diaz, of Chicanos Unidos, a group made up of statewide Latino groups, shouts against Proposition 187 during a small demonstration in front of the Vons grocery store in East Los Angeles, Oct. 29, 1994. The group was also protesting Vons' political contributions to Gov. Pete Wilson's campaign. (AP Photo/Rene Macura)

If you lived in California in the 1990s and remember the debate surrounding Prop. 187, we'd like to hear from you.

  • What are your memories from that time?
  • Were you one of the nearly 59 percent of people who voted in favor of the measure? Why did you support Prop. 187, and were you upset when it wasn't implemented?
  • Do you think Prop. 187 affects your life today? How so?
  • How do you think California has changed in the years since? Is that change worse or better?

Fill out the form below, and we may use your comments in an upcoming story about the 25th anniversary of the proposition. We will read all the answers you submit but will not use anything without your permission.

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