The rapid increase in the Hispanic population has not, however, complicated the black-white binary of U.S. race relations to the extent one might have expected. In part, this is because middle-class Hispanics–with the assistance of the Census Bureau in 1980–have redrawn the boundaries of whiteness to include both Hispanics and “non-Hispanic whites.” Mexican Americans, like other Hispanic groups, are at a crossroads: one path, slouching toward whiteness, leads to racial fissures that harden the color line between blacks and whites. Hispanic whites express their new sense of entitlement often by supporting anti-affirmative action laws, English-only movements, and other nativist ideologies on the backs of immigrants and African Americans. Another path welcomes the shared responsibility of defining and bringing into existence a transnational multiracial identity that acknowledges the Indian and African heritage of Latinos and their ancient ties to the Western hemisphere, an identity that the author Richard Rodriguez calls simply “brown.”
Neil Foley, "Partly Colored or Other White: Mexican Americans and Their Problem with the Color Line," in Beyond Black and White: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the U.S. South and Southwest
, ed. Stephanie Cole and Alison M. Parker, 123-144 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 204), 141.
Ask A Mexican: Are Mexicans White? Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly (May 2013)
In 2016, American Latinxs are non-white / brown / people of color:
Thirty-one percent of eligible voters will be racial or ethnic minorities, up from 29% in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. And the share of non-Hispanic white voters eligible to vote will be the lowest in history, the continuation of a steady decline in white voters over the past three decades.
It’s a stark reminder of the shifting demographics of the country: The Census Bureau projects that no one racial group will be a majority of the country by the year 2044. Republicans and Democrats looking to chart an electoral future as the country continues to grow browner and younger will have to take heed of these shifts.
In the 1980 presidential election, white voters made up 88% of the electorate. That year, Ronald Reagan won 56% of non-Hispanic whites and captured the presidential election in a landslide. Four years later, against Walter Mondale, Reagan won them by 30 points, 66% to 34%. Since Reagan’s time though, the white share of the electorate has declined by a few percentage points each presidential year.
Why the white vote’s shrinking
One reason is because overall, the white population in the United States is growing older and the younger generations of Americans are increasingly diverse, fueled largely by the growth of the Latino population in the US.
WBL p. 142ff
The racial animus behind Proposition 187 is painfully evident in the imagery and language used by the proponents of the measure. Consider the questions posed in rhetorical support of S.O.S. in the official state ballot pamphlet:
Should those ILLEGALLY here receive taxpayer subsidized education including college?
Should our children’s classrooms be over-crowded by those who are ILLEGALLY in our country?
Should our Senior Citizens be denied full service under Medi-Cal to subsidize the cost of ILLEGAL ALIENS?
Even in the context of a ballot pamphlet, where one might expect carefully considered advocacy, the structure and language of these questions betrays the stark us-versus-them distinctions that mark racial divides, creating an unbridgeable gulf between “them,” the illegal aliens, and “us,” the taxpayers, parents, and senior citizens. Undocumented people, whether tourists who overstayed their visas or wage laborers who crossed the border for work, are cast as a single, homogenous, undeserving, uppercase  OTHER bent on victimizing the variegated but relatively defenseless and lowercase “we.”
Not surprisingly, the less-restrained public campaign for Proposition 187 echoed and amplified these overtones of racial bias. In the public campaign, the issue was not immigration, it was Mexicans. In television commercials linking his bid for reelection to support for S.O.S., California Governor Pete Wilson repeatedly ran prime-time images of people running in pandemonium through a Tijuana-San Diego border checkpoint, powerfully transforming the anti-immigrant initiative into an anti-Mexican campaign. As Elizabeth Martínez writes, “Wilson has almost single-handedly made the word ‘immigrant’ mean Mexican or other Latino (and sometimes Asian). Who thinks of all the people coming from the former Soviet Union and other countries?” Wilson is not alone in race-baiting through the language of immigration reform. Evidence of racial bias also abounds in the comments of others who support restrictionist immigration policies. One grass-roots organizer argues that with immigrants, “[i]t’s like animals. When there’s scarcity, they don’t breed. When there’s plenty, they breed.” A founder of the prominent restrictionist lobby, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, asks: “Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile? . . . On the demographic point, perhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down!” A 1992 Republican presidential hopeful stated “that immigrants ‘mongrelize’ our culture and dilute our values.” The divisive rhetoric of us and them, the repeated depictions of Mexicans rushing across the border, and the invective about breeding and mongrelization all slander the reality of immigration to this country in the hostile terms of racial inferiority. This language completely disregards the reality  Gerald López seeks to remind us of, that when it comes to immigration, “They are we.”
In light of these xenophobic comments and the long history of nativism in the United States, it is difficult to conclude that anything but racism provides the primary force behind anti-immigrant measures such as Proposition 187. Nevertheless, it must be noted that the vast majority of those supporting such legislation insist that they are not driven by racism. Thus, the proponents of the S.O.S. initiative stress that race is irrelevant to their concerns, and that they are solely interested in curtailing the flow of undocumented migration. […]
Ian F. Haney López, White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race
(New York: New York University Press, 1996), 141-143.
Immigration laws targeting presumptively Latinx immigrants serve as Haney Lopez’s chief example of facially neutral laws that nevertheless have a racially disparate impact. / WBL 141ff
The proposed constitutional amendment to repeal the  Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in order to deny birthright citizenship to children born in the United States to undocumented persons exemplifies current efforts to write facially neutral laws with racially discriminatory effects. So does California’s Proposition 187, the “Save Our State” (S.O.S.) initiative, which makes undocumented persons and their children ineligible for public social services ranging from primary education to non-emergency doctor’s visits and prenatal care. Approved in 1994 by a two-to-one margin but currently blocked by a series of court challenges, S.O.S. is being hailed by some national leaders as a model for the entire country. Its success dramatically confirms the role of unconscious racism in the legal construction of race.
Ian F. Haney López, White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race
(New York: New York University Press, 1996), 141ff.