The [California] Secretary of State's office announced today that the 'Save Our State' initiative, co-sponsored by the Citizens for Legal Immigration Reform and the California Coalition for Immigration Reform has qualified for the 1994 November ballot.
The group turned in nearly 600,000 signatures, with representation from all 58 counties. According to the Secretary of State's office, this initiative has a validity rate of 84 percent, the highest validity rate ever achieved by an initiative in California.
This promises to be the hottest topic before the voters in the November election. It will be the first time the American public has had an opportunity to vote directly on an immigration-related issue. 'By voting for the 'S.O.S.' initiative, we can begin to stop the flood of illegal aliens who are inundating California' states Ron Prince, a proponent of the initiative.
A Los Angeles Times poll in March showed 62 percent, including a majority of Democrats, support the controversial 'S.O.S.' initiative barring illegal aliens from a variety of social services.
The provisions of the initiative can be summarized as follows
* WELFARE Excludes illegal aliens from receiving public social services, and requires all public social service agencies to report to the INS any illegal alien who applies for public benefits.
* HEALTH CARE Excludes illegal aliens from publicly funded health care (except for emergency care as required by federal law); public health care agencies are required to report any illegal alien to the INS.
* EDUCATION Excludes illegal aliens from receiving educational benefits from elementary and secondary schools, as well as higher education. A transition period will be permitted for the illegal alien to return to his or her country of origin. Requires the educational institution to report any illegal alien pupil to the INS.
* FALSE DOCUMENTS Makes it a felony to manufacture, distribute, sell or use false citizenship documents to obtain any benefits reserved for legal residents; provides for mandatory fines and imprisonments.
* LAW ENFORCEMENT COOPERATION Requires the identification and reporting to the INS of any illegal aliens who have been arrested by local law enforcement. Requires the state Attorney General to report to the INS any illegal aliens the above agencies (welfare, social services, health care, education, local law enforcement) have identified.
In May of this year, the House Appropriations Committee refused to forbid illegal aliens from receiving government jobs or benefits, rejecting a move that sponsors said would save billions of dollars a year. The Democratic-dominated panel defeated the effort on a pair of voice votes.
'This is not surprising,' comments Mayor Barbara Kiley of Yorba Linda. 'Year after year, the California legislature has talked about doing something about the problems associated with illegal immigration and every year nothing is ever done to solve the problem.'
Last year alone, Assemblyman Dick Mountjoy submitted five different bills dealing with the issues that are in the initiative concerning illegal aliens, and all were killed in committee. These same issues were introduced in the form of amendments 29 times and were defeated on the floor of the Assembly along partisan lines. 'We felt it was time to do something about the situation since it was obvious that both the state legislature and congressional leadership were only giving this issue lip service,' stated Assemblyman Dick Mountjoy. ;