Immigrants Rights

Immigrants' Rights: 1970

In Castro v. State of California, the state supreme court rules that the English literacy requirement for voting violates the equal protection clause of the federal constitution.

Immigrants' Rights: 1974

In a case arising out of Chinese immigrant students in San Francisco not being taught English, the U.S. Supreme court rules in Lau v. Nichols that public schools officials must guarantee that students of a particular race, color or national origin are given the opportunity for an education generally obtained by other students. If students do not understand English, merely providing them the same teachers, textbooks, curriculum, and facilities as other students is not enough.


Immigrants' Rights: 1975

Federal Voting Rights Act is expanded to require bilingual ballots in areas with a threshold percentage of non-English speakers

Immigrants' Rights: 1976

Legislature passes the Chacon-Moscone Bilingual Education Act which gives public school students the right to be taught in a language they understand. The law requires bilingual and bicultural education in elementary schools where at least 15 students speak the same primary non-English language.

Immigrants' Rights: 1987

Voters pass Proposition 63, amending the state constitution to declare English the official state language.

Immigrants' Rights: 1989

Federal judge Robert Takasugi strikes down a Pomona ordinance requiring business signs with foreign lettering to be at least half in "English" alphabetical characters.

Immigrants' Rights: 1994

Federal government begins "Operation Gatekeeper," adding to the infrastructure at the U.S. – Mexico border, including a 30-mile fence, stadium lighting, infrared night scopes, high-powered vehicles, and helicopters. The program results in moving the flow of migrants from the populated San Diego area to more dangerous inland border crossings, contributing to the deaths of thousands of migrants.

Voters pass Proposition 187, which requires state workers to deny services to anyone they know or "reasonably suspect" to be an undocumented alien. In response to lawsuits against the initiative, federal and state judges issue preliminary injunctions barring implementation. The law never goes into effect because Governor Gray Davis, does not pursue the state's defense of the law.


Immigrants' Rights: 1998

Voters pass Proposition 227 outlawing bilingual education.

Immigrants' Rights: 2001

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, the federal government institutes round-up, questioning, and surveillance programs targeting Arab, South Asian, and Middle Eastern immigrant communities.

Immigrants' Rights: 2006

Massive immigrants’ rights marches in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Federal government launches “Operation Return to Sender.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers raid workplaces and immigrant neighborhoods. Because the program’s scope is broad, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are interrogated, threatened and detained.

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