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Chapter 5: Prop 187’s Legacy

The campaign against Prop 187 inspired many Latinos to political careers including: Kevin de León, former President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate; Fabian Núñez, former California State Assembly speaker; Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State. As a community, they saw the importance of representation. It also influenced the California many know today, where 80% of seats are held by Democrats and there is support for pro-immigrant policies, climate change and its sanctuary state status. However, Prop 187 also kickstarted copycat anti-immigrant laws across the nation. It even made its way to congressional debates and policies.  

The landscape seen in 1990s California is now mirrored on a national scale as the country battles economic woes, an increasingly diverse population as well as increased damage from natural phenomena. All this with the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, nativist rhetoric fanning the flames of division in the background. What lessons can be learned from the story of Prop 187 and how can the nation move forward? 

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