From the Los Angeles Times in 1999:
Zedillo Key to End of Prop. 187, Villaraigosa SaysThanks to commenter KevinB for remembering this forgotten event.
August 04, 1999 | MARY BETH SHERIDAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER
MEXICO CITY — California Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa thanked President Ernesto Zedillo here Tuesday for helping defuse Proposition 187, saying the Mexican leader played a key role in scuttling the controversial state measure that denied benefits to illegal immigrants.
“As leader of the state Assembly, I say President Zedillo had great impact in defeating Proposition 187,” Villaraigosa told a news conference after he and a state delegation met the Mexican chief executive. Zedillo’s visit to California in May “pushed the process” that eventually invalidated most of the measure, the speaker said.
Villaraigosa’s declarations were perhaps the clearest sign yet of California’s radical change in relations with Mexico and of the rise of a new phenomenon: cross-border politics. Once a distant neighbor, the Mexican president has become a prized ally for California politicians eager to court the Latino vote.
“The emergence of cross-border coalitions and issues shows the advent of a whole new era in U.S.-Mexican and Mexico-California relations,” said Denise Dresser, a visiting fellow at the Pacific Council think tank in Los Angeles.
The meeting with Zedillo was the centerpiece of a four-day visit to Mexico by Villaraigosa, a Los Angeles Democrat who is trying to promote economic and political ties between California and its southern neighbor. He is also considering a run for mayor of Los Angeles.
“He gave thanks on behalf of Mexican Americans,” said the official, Deputy Foreign Minister Juan Rebolledo.
“I was surprised he was so explicit,” Rebolledo added.