The Sights and Sounds of Proposition 187

Secretary of State Alex Padilla publishes exhibit on 25th anniversary of divisive law

As Americans across the country continue to fight racist, hurtful and divisive immigration policies, a new online California State Archives exhibit spotlights a major battle here in California that occurred 25 years ago: the passage of Proposition 187.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla published the online archival look featuring photos and video of the controversy surrounding the divisive anti-immigrant ballot initiative, which passed into law on Election Day 1994 but also inspired a new era of political activism.

More than 60 percent of voters approved Prop. 187, which sought to block all public services to undocumented immigrants. Courts prevented it from taking effect and eventually the law was declared unconstitutional. The blatant assault on immigrants had a major impact on political activism in Latinx communities–in 1994, 1.4 million registered California voters were Latinx, today that number is above 4 million.

“The way to respond to attacks is to organize. There is a silver lining,” Padilla told CalMatters.

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