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  • Law
  • Political Science


On November 8, 1994, California voters approved Proposition 187 through a statewide initiative. The proposition denied certain public benefits and services to illegal aliens and required that all agencies related to these services report anyone suspected to be illegal to state agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This initiative provides a case study that crosses the disciplinary boundaries of race theory, nationalism, American politics, and liberal democratic theory. The nationalism found in the Prop. 187 context is one which tries to neutralize racial identification in favor of a national identification. In reality, it fails to be racially neutral. The initiative process of Prop. 187 appeals to a "populist" brand of nationalism because it embodies a liberal democratic ideal of political participation and so gains a sense of legitimacy. Copyright 1998 by The Policy Studies Organization.

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