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'Rule of Law' proposal approved

Costa Mesa officials vote for mayor's resolution to toughen enforcement on illegal immigration.

May 19, 2010|By Mona Shadia

Despite community members' pleas against Mayor Allan Mansoor's resolution to take a stance against illegal immigration, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday in its favor.

Councilwoman Katrina Foley was absent.

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

The resolution declaring Costa Mesa a "Rule of Law City" follows an April news conference in which Mansoor called for stricter regulations to catch illegal immigrants living, working and driving in the city, and his promise to ask for the council's support.

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"The resolution states that Costa Mesa is not a sanctuary city and that it is in fact a rule of law city when it comes to support for upholding immigration laws," Mansoor said before the meeting.

Among the ideas Mansoor introduced during last month's news conference was exploring whether the city can require its businesses to use E-Verify to check the immigration status of prospective employees, and whether the city can verify the legality of those seeking business licenses.

The state Assembly candidate also wanted to explore why police sometimes accept the matricula consular, a form of identification issued by the Mexican government, as a valid form of verification.

"It's important for the public to know that form of ID is being used and accepted, and it raises questions as to why they don't have driver's licenses, a passport or some type of ID that says they have a legal right to work here," Mansoor said earlier Tuesday.

Mansoor, who says he supports legal immigration, wanted police in 2005 to enforce immigration laws. The proposal sparked citywide conflict and a federal lawsuit accusing him and the city of violating a resident's 1st Amendment rights. The city prevailed.

At least five residents spoke against Mansoor's resolution, and no one spoke in its favor.

"Americans across the political spectrum agree that our immigration system needs fixing," said Keturah Kennedy, a Westside Costa Mesa resident. "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."

Councilwoman Wendy Leece credited reduced crime stats to the presence of an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent at the city's jail and cited that as the foundation for her support of Mansoor's resolution.

"That is just validating and restating the federal immigration laws that we support," she said.

Mansoor dismissed residents' comments as "reckless," and added that they do not reflect "what's being introduced tonight."

"The purpose is to set the tone for a strong policy, and, as I mentioned, in the future I do want to bring some things forward for discussion for possible future implementation," Mansoor said before the meeting.

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