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Proposition 187 and Its Political Aftermath: Lessons for U.S. Immigration Politics After Trump

Kevin R. Johnson

Vol. 53

April 2020

Page 1859

Although many Americans today consider California to be nothing less than a sanctuary for immigrants, the state has a long history of anti-immigrant outbursts. Examples are legion, including the attacks, violent as well as legal, on Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s and the mass deportation of persons of Mexican ancestry during the Great Depression.

Nor are all of California’s xenophobic episodes part of the distant past. This symposium directs attention to a relatively recent nativist chapter in the Golden State. In 1994, California voters, by a landslide two-to-one vote, polarized along racial lines, passed Proposition 187.

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