Costa Mesa declares itself a 'rule of law' community

The City Council resolution states that the central Orange County town 'is not a sanctuary city' and will uphold immigration laws.

May 20, 2010|By Mona Shadia, Los Angeles Times

The Costa Mesa City Council has voted unanimously to declare itself a "rule of law" community, further widening the divide over illegal immigration in the central Orange County city.

This week's resolution follows an April news conference in which Mayor Allan Mansoor called for stricter regulations to catch illegal immigrants living, working and driving in the city.

Costa Mesa has sought for several years to reduce the number of illegal immigrants within its borders by regulating day laborers, asking police to check the immigration status of people they stop and limiting the number of soccer fields in parks.

Mansoor said before Tuesday's meeting that the resolution "states that Costa Mesa is not a sanctuary city" and will uphold immigration laws.

The resolution passed despite pleas from community members. No one in the audience spoke in favor of it.

"Immigrants are part of America," Silvia Hernandez told the council. "We work, pay taxes, go to church and participate in our communities. We need a solution that brings people out of the shadows."

"Americans across the political spectrum agree that our immigration system needs fixing," said Keturah Kennedy. "It is unrealistic to deport the 12 million undocumented residents of our country. Workable solutions must include a realistic pathway to citizenship for those who are currently working, paying taxes and learning English. We need all the residents of Costa Mesa to have full economic and civic participation to help our city thrive."

Mansoor dismissed residents' comments as reckless, adding that they do not reflect "what's being introduced tonight." He said the resolution was aimed at setting the tone for a strong anti-illegal immigration policy both now and in the future.

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