Costa Mesa has been at the forefront of the national debate on immigration ever since Mayor Allan Mansoor unveiled a plan to have police enforce immigration laws in 2005.
It’s been a year since a federal immigration official set up shop at the Costa Mesa jail. The city was the first in Southern California to post an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer full-time at its jail.
Proponents of the enforcement program say Costa Mesa’s partnership with federal law enforcement has been fruitful in its first year — 360 illegal immigrants nabbed by local police have been deported in its first year. But some say many offenders would have been flagged for immigration checks anyway and the presence of a full-time immigration officer at the jail has made Costa Mesa’s large Latino community fearful of law enforcement.