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Protest calls for boycott of businesses

February 02, 2006|By By Alicia Robinson

Group opposed to city's immigration policy announces boycott, which local leaders call futile.A Santa Ana-based immigrant rights group that opposes Costa Mesa's immigration enforcement decision today planned to repeat its call for a boycott of Costa Mesa businesses and for civil disobedience.

Local leaders disparaged the boycott plan as divisive and unproductive.

Nativo Lopez, a spokesman for Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, first called for the boycott in late January. On Wednesday he announced he'll take the issue to Costa Mesa City Hall, where he planned a press conference for today.

Lopez, along with several local labor unions and Latino advocacy groups, wants to force the Costa Mesa City Council to reconsider plans to train police to do immigration checks on people suspected of serious crimes.

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The city's plan is still being developed, and no police have yet had training from federal immigration authorities.

Protesters intend to create a sign to post in businesses that oppose the city's plan, and to avoid businesses that won't post the sign, Lopez said. He also will urge people not to cooperate with police, though he doesn't advocate violence, confrontation or resisting arrest.

"You have to demonstrate that without the cooperation of the populace, the police cannot do its job, and there's no reason for people to cooperate if they run the risk of being a target of inquiries about their status," Lopez said.

He added that the tactics could be expanded around Orange County if Sheriff Mike Carona proceeds with plans to train deputies for immigration enforcement.

As the only commercial business operator on the council, Councilman Gary Monahan may take a more personal hit if many people participate in the boycott.

Protesters on Wednesday scrambled to organize in time for an evening fundraiser for state Senate candidate Diane Harkey at Skosh Monahan's, the councilman's restaurant.

Protesters oppose Harkey because she co-chaired the failed initiative to form a state border police force, said organizer Naui Huitzilopochtli, who is a member of the immigrant advocacy group the Tonantzin Collective.

And because Monahan voted for the immigration enforcement plan, his restaurant is "a perfect target for us," Huitzilopochtli said.

Monahan said the protest wouldn't change his mind.

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