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Momentum Builds To Repeal Calif. Ban On Public Benefits For Illegal Immigrants

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 20-year-old California law that prohibits undocumented immigrants from accessing public healthcare, welfare and other benefits may soon be coming off the books.

On Wednesday, State Senator Kevin de Leon joined other state lawmakers to introduce Senate Bill 396 (PDF), which calls for the repeal of Proposition 187 passed in 1994.

Approved by 59 percent of California voters, Prop 187 – which marked the first time that any U.S. state passed legislation related to immigration – was aimed at saving state and local governments roughly $200 million due to reduced costs for public social services, health care and higher education.

The largely unenforced measure made illegal aliens ineligible for public health and social services – except for emergencies under federal law – and public school education. Prop 187 also required various state and local agencies to report any suspected illegal aliens to the California Attorney General and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

But de Leon told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO he and other supporters of SB 396 believe the time has come for the state to “erase the stain of Proposition 187.”

State Senator Kevin de Leon

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KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO

“There are folks, no doubt about it, who still have a hard-line when it comes to immigration, it is a black-and-white issue for them,” said de Leon. “Nonetheless, it does [benefit] us as a state, as an economy to invest in these young children, to give them an opportunity for an education.”

Both the state Senate and Assembly will hold ceremonies on June 23 to mark the the 20th anniversary of Proposition 187 qualifying for the statewide ballot.

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