Radical plans to control illegal immigration into California, America's most ethnically diverse state, are producing a growing backlash, including threats of a campaign of civil disobedience if the proposals become law.
Voters in the Golden State will vote by public ballot in next week's mid-term elections on Proposition 187 - laws which would deny health care, education and other benefits to illegal immigrants in one of the toughest immigration crack-downs in decades.
Until recently, polls showed the measures had overwhelming support among Californians, who balk at seeing an estimated $3bn ( pounds 1.9bn) of their taxes going on services for the 2.1 million undocumented immigrants - many from Mexico and Central America - who have moved into the state.
Angry and frustrated voters paid little heed to the fact that the same people provide cheap, non-unionised labour which enables many Californians to enjoy an unusually prosperous living. Illegal immigrants frequently work as nannies, gardeners, parking valets, and waiters.
Now the picture has changed markedly. The opposition has mobilised, and is helping turn the proposition into the most racially volatile issue in the state since riots erupted in Los Angeles in April 1992. Polls suggest that it is still set to pass, but the margin is far narrower - down to only about a dozen points.
Within the past few days, thousands of Hispanic youths, worried that they are about to be ejected from the classroom, have staged protest walk-outs from California's schools, in which there are an estimated 300,000 undocumented pupils. Last month 70,000 people, many waving Mexican flags, took to the streets of Los Angeles to protest the measures. Los Angeles Police Department has cancelled time off for its officers on 8 November - election day - in case trouble erupts.
The hardening of opposition to Proposition 187 …