About 50 business owners gathered in front of Costa Mesa City Hall on Thursday, March 23, 2006 to voice their opposition to the City Councils policy which would allow police to check the legal status of immigrants. A link to a video of Mayor Allan Mansoor defending his policy is here.
The policy was spearheaded by the Mayor Allan Mansoor and passed by the council in a 3-2 vote. Mayor Mansoor has not indicated whether he will run for re-election this November and it is widely thought that the policy may be reversed by the new City Council. The policy would ally local the Costa Mesa Police with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and seeks to have the local police enforce current federal immigration laws and engage in the aprehension as well as initiating deportations. Although the policy is yet to be implemented Orange County businesses claim that it is already hurting their sales.
The Mayor also faces some reservations from Police Capt. Ron Smith who has publicly stated that the enforcement would be complex.
From the California Chronicle:
"One small-business owner at the gathering said immigration policy should be left to the federal government."
'What we need is a national immigration policy,' said attorney Chris Blank. 'We don't need a cowboy sitting in the mayor's seat in Costa Mesa saying, `I'm going to round them all up and send them away.''In recent weeks Cardinal Mahoney of the Catholic Church has come down firmly on the immigrants' rights side of this debate and openly called for the church to not enforce the provisions of the law that call for the reporting of illegal aliens to federal authorities.
Local elected officials have begun to delivering speeches opposing policies similar to those of Costa Mesa and the recent Senate Bill HR 4437. Several cities in California such as Bell Gardens, Huntington Park, and Pomona have taken the lead of Maywood and passed resolutions resisting the criminalisation of immigrants and gone as far as offering themselves as immigrant sanctuaries if HR 4437 ever makes it into law.