Indian Americans and most other first generation immigrants who might have an “accent” or an “ethnic” last name ought to be worried about the passage of California’s Proposition 187 on the November ballot.
The fine print in Prop. 187 would require the reporting of anyonemerely suspected of being here illegally. Those who have a higher chance of being natural suspects are those who look and sound different, or to put it another way, the minority populations. That puts all of us, along with our children, at risk as being seen as potential “illegal immigrants” and being asked to prove our status.
We could also be reported to Immigration and Naturalization Service and California’s Attorney General not necessarily because there is any proof of wrong doing, but merely because our personal characteristics make us suspect. Such a law would actually end up legalizing this new form of discrimination and harassment. Proposition 187 has no protections for legal residents against false accusations.
The supporters of 187 say that it only deals with illegal aliens. What they don’t know-or won’t tell you-is that the real people behind 187 are backed by a white supremacist group. Bankrolling Prop. 187 is the Pioneer Fund, which is a secretive group that believes in the genetic superiority of the white race.
Proposition 187 was authored by Alan Nelson and Harold Ezzell, both of whom are California operatives of a national organization called the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which is partly funded by the Pioneer Fund. Throughout the writing and honing of Prop. 187, Nelson was a lobbyist on FAIR’s payroll.
According to an Irish Times article dated May 23,1994, “The Pioneer Fund was set up in 1937 to encourage research into race and eugenics, which is the study of the means of improving the quality of race, especially by selective breeding. The Pioneer Fund’s specific concern was the improvement of white people … The fund was incorporated by two American scientists names Harry Laughlin and Frederick Osborn. Laughlin received a doctorate from Heidelberg University in 1936 in honor of his contribution to Nazi eugenics and Osborn once described the Nazi sterilization law as a ‘most exciting experiment?’”
There is no doubt that the United States has a problem with illegal immigration, and we need to find a workable solution. But the authors of 187 are taking advantage of public sentiment against illegal immigration. Indian Americans and other minorities must think ahead: What will these people do after 187? Given their background, one can reasonably conclude that they will likely move to prohibit legal immigration or family reunification.
There are many other practical reasons to vote against 187.
Prop. 187 will not fix our illegal immigration problem. 187 does nothing to enforce the laws we already have. It does absolutely nothing to beef-up enforcement at the border or crack down on employers who break the law and knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
Prop. 187 will cost taxpayers $15 billion. U.S. Secretary of Education has informed state officials that 187 violates federal laws and will force a cut-off of federal funds to California schools. The independent analysis of 187 in the voter pamphlet shows the passage of 187 could cost our schools and hospitals $15 billion in lost federal funds. Replacing that money could necessitate a $1.600 annual tax increase for the average California family.
Prop. 187 is opposed by law enforcement because it will mean more crime, not less. 187 will kick an estimated 300,000 kids out of school and onto our streets, with no supervision. Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy, whose office has tracked the results of truancy for the past eight years, says, “When truancy is up, burglary, drug abuse, and petty crime goes up. When truancy is down, so are the others.”
Further. Kennedy fears that 187’s requirement to report “suspicious” persons will create a “police-state mentality that will foster distrust not only of the police but of all authority … and the burden of these investigations will be borne by people with dark skins.”
San Jose Chief of Police Louis A. Cobarruviaz also opposes the measure because the “community policing” won’t work when citizens are afraid to work with the police.
We urge the Indian American community to send a message to the Pioneer Fund and everyone connected with them: vote no on 187. Let them know we don’t tolerate that kind of mentality in California. And jf any Indian American “leaders” ask you to support 187, ask them how dare they support a proposition that is so divisive, that will lead to a police-state mentality, and that will lead to harassment of our community members?
Coalition 2001 Fights 187
Mohinder S. Mann, Annie Dadavati, and Khorsed Alam of Coalition 2001, a San Jose-based grassroots group that most recently successfully led the campaign to recall San Jose Council-woman Kathy Cole, is spearheading a non-partisan campaign to defeat Proposition 187.
Republican District Attorney George Kennedy and irdluenti.al Republican fund-raiser Michael Fox are joining with a long list of elected Democratic Party elected officials including Congressmen Nonnan Mineta, Don Edwards. Mayor Susan Hammer, Supervisor Zoe Lofgren and many others in opposing 187.
“This is a campaign that brings forth an entire community interested in working together to improve Out community instead of working to destroy it,” States Mohinder S. Mann, Chainllan of Coalition 2001.
“Our community can disagree on political issues, but on Prop. 187 we must stand firmly united [against a] poorly drafted initiative written by a couple of mothball bureaucrats,” Dandavati adds.
Khorshed Alam says that the so-called SOS initiative is drafted by “Snake-Oil Salesmen” whose hidden agenda will only hurt our community. “SOS makes a bad situation worse. As voters learn more about the initiative and read the fine print, they will turn it down.”