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February 2002, Volume 9, Number 2

California, Texas

The University of California Board of Regents in January 2002 agreed that 200 to 400 unauthorized foreigners who spent at least three years in California K-12 schools, graduated, and applied for legal immigration status may pay lower in-state tuition to attend the University of California, $4,000 compared to $10,700. A 2001 law made the same change for 23 California state university campuses and all community colleges. Texas also offers unauthorized foreigners in-state tuition, and Minnesota, Utah, Washington, and North Carolina are considering plans to do so.

Gov. Gray Davis in January 2002 proposed reducing state funding for the Naturalization Services Program, from $6.5 million to $2 million, citing the recession. The program in 2001 helped 18,500 people become US citizens.

Prop 187. GOP gubernatorial contender Bill Jones in January 2002 said he would support Proposition 187, with modifications, to allow unauthorized children to receive services, if it were proposed again today; he endorsed 187 in 1994. Jones said: "I have always supported legal immigration. I am opposed to illegal immigration." His Republican rivals, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and businessman Bill Simon Jr., both opposed the 1994 initiative to limit state-funded benefits for unauthorized foreigners; it was approved 59-41 percent by voters.

The California Coalition for Immigration Reform has proposed a "Homeland Security Initiative," to prevent unauthorized foreigners from getting access to public services in the state. The initiative, a modified version of Proposition 187, proposes amending the California Constitution to arrest and turn over to the INS unauthorized foreigners who apply for state-supported benefits.

Texas. Texas Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates Dan Morales and Tony Sanchez will debate in Spanish, a first-of-its kind event for a major political race, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Hispanics made up 33 percent of the Texas population of 21 million in 2000.

Politics. The entire House and one-third of the Senate will face elections in November 2002. There was speculation about whether the Hispanic vote- seven percent of the total in 2000- might tip the balance between Democrats and Republicans. Many predict that Hispanics will be the sought-after voters of this decade, much like the "soccer moms" of the 1990s and the Reagan Democrats of the 1980s. Bush received 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000, and Hispanics are expected to be 10 percent of the US electorate in 2004.

Pollster John Zogby found that 76 percent of Americans believe the country is not doing enough to control its borders, and 85 percent think immigration laws are too lax, compared to 50-50 splits in responses to such questions before September 11.

Minerva Canto, "Coe hopes terror revives spirit of Prop. 187," Orange County Register, January 15, 2002. Dana Milbank, "Attacks Shelve GOP Effort to Woo Hispanics," Washington Post, December 20, 2001.