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California Secretary of State Alex Padilla had just graduated with an engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when he returned home in 1994 to an acrimonious political struggle over Proposition 187 — the ballot initiative that helped turn the state Democratic and served as a political awakening for many Latinos.

Friday marks the day 25 years ago that California voters approved by a vote of 59 percent to 41 percent the “Save Our State” proposition, known as Prop 187, that would have denied health care, education and other services to anyone believed to be illegally in the country.

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