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Is Costa Mesa's illegal immigration crackdown about politics or real policy? Tell us what you think

Costa Mesa has distinguished itself from much of Southern California as a town aggressively opposed to illegal immigrants. City leaders closed a long-running day labor center, proposed that police officers check the legal status of suspected lawbreakers and have even targeted pickup soccer games in parks.

TalkBackLANow, as city after city in California has condemned Arizona's recently passed illegal-immigration law, Costa Mesa has again stood firmly on the other side of the debate by declaring itself a "Rule of Law City."

If the declaration was meant to send the message that the Orange County city was serious about fighting illegal immigration, it worked on the city's Latino-dominated Westside, where residents express concerns.

But for all the tough talk about illegal immigrants, it remains an open question how much political leaders here have accomplished beyond attracting headlines and rattling nerves.

The immigration agent once stationed at the city jail is gone. An anti-solicitation ordinance meant to drive away day laborers is on indefinite hold because of a lawsuit, and the number of jailed illegal immigrants handed over to federal authorities has dropped significantly.

What do you think of Costa Mesa's aggressive tactics on illegal immigration? Read the full story by The Times' Paloma Esquivel and Tony Barboza here. In the video above, Steve Marble, The Times' editor who handles Orange County news, discusses the long history of Costa Mesa and the illegal immigration question.

Share your thoughts below.

Comments () | Archives (51)

Anytime an anti immigration attitude is raised in the media concerning a political group, whether from politicians or a think tank operation, you can be somewhat
confident in believing a bunch of neo-conservatives are involved, as they are in Orange County,CA.

All Cities should be "Rule of Law" Cities, the ones that Boycott Arizona will suffer much more than Arizona ever has.
Americans need to unite and respect American Values and Laws, we have a group of politicians that dont like America and are doing all they can to destroy America.

Costa Mesa Firmly Stands Against Illegals and I Firmly Stand with Costa Mesa!

Well I firmly believe that Good will win over Evil. So I would like to think that Costa Mesa is cracking down on illegals because it is the right thing to do. The law is the law. I still believe that even politicians have conscience and would do what is best for America. Support AZ immigration law!

ok, so there are millions of immigrants in the US, coming in from different countries. However the bulk of the illegal ones are Latino, correct? Latinos think they are above the law and should not have to wait in line like all of the other idiots who apply to get into this county. So if a US peace officer, in the course of investigating a crime committed by a person who does not speak the language well, asks for proof of citizenship, and the person does not have it, most likely that person will be Latino. Was that racist statement?

Costa Mesa is simply enforcing the law, and as a result, I support the city. Opponents of immigration enforcement always try to frame the issue as one of American hegemony harming working families when, in actuality, the issue is about whether we're a country of men (who choose which laws they'll follow) or a country of laws (which apply to all people equally). Costa Mesa doesn't oppress burglars by enforcing the Penal Code. Costa Mesa doesn't oppress drunk drivers by enforcing the Vehicle Code. Costa Mesa doesn't oppress people from south of the border by enforcing immigration laws.

I understand that people from impoverished Central American nations want to come to the U.S. and make better lives for themselves and their families. Nevertheless, my empathy doesn't extend so far that I can ignore reality. The fact is, lawlessness, graft, and corruption are ways of life in Central American nations. Laws means nothing in Central America, police and government officials are completely corrupt, and average citizens rely on cartels for a sense of protection or order. We Americans can learn great lessons from the failed states of Central America. We must support law and order above misguided sympathy.

I read Paloma Esquivel and Tony Barboza's story referenced in this piece. The story suggests Costa Mesa should verify employees' legal right to work in Costa Mesa if it was serious about enforcement. But wouldn't this be 'checking their papers' and therefore condemned by the likes of the LA Times and a whole host of 'prominent' local and national politicians and activists?

Also, the story clearly racially/ethnically profiles & stereotypes, suggesting Illegals patronize Mexican food establishments, speak Spanish and play soccer.

My comments point out the lunacy of the leftists who run California and want to on one hand close all avenues of practical enforcement and on the other hand blame the problem of illegal immigration lack of enforcement. In other words, they don't want any enforcement at all but want to maintain a guise of credibility while much of California and the southwest is transformed into a huge Tijuana.

Wonderful,it is about time someone decided to enforce the laws of this land, The same as Mexico enforces it laws,We in america have the right to enforce our laws. Thank you Yorba Linda.

Let's do a story on how the people of Arizona feel about their state being decimated by illegal aliens. Also how they feel about their having the second highest rate of kidnappings in the world.

You might also consider, being a news "reporter", interviewing non-Latinos. Or perhaps you are a racist against certain non-Latinos??

The political leaders in Costa Mesa are only adding a voice to what the majority of their constituents want. If that is politicizing the issue, then good! The politicians need to put THEIR feelings and wishes aside and start listening to what their voters want. The politicians of Costa Mesa seem to have done just that.

The rule of law will always be popular with city officals and voters. Unfortunately Costa Mesa, like the rest of Southern California is caught in limbo by immigration laws which the federal government will neither change nor enforce.

Like usual the media blows everything out of view. Most to incite the public which gives them incentive to keep doing what their doing. Costa Mesa is simply checking immigration status when criminals have been arrested and are taken into custody by Costa Mesa Police Officers. As it should be anywhere...if that individual is here illegaly...then INS should be informed where another charge is placed. Stop blowing things out of view...geez its getting old.

I do not think this is a political move. The illegal immigration problem is out of control. I think they are following the rule of law. More cities in California should be following in their footsteps. Keep up the good work! This has nothing to do with race. If that were the case then the police could not ever stop anyone. It is law enforcements job to profile. They profile me, a white woman every time they see me. They have to be able to spot things that the average person may not.
I think that everyone profiles everyone and every place. Right or wrong you have to do that to protect yourself. If I see a bunch of kids that look like skinheads I am going to be careful. Don't think just because I am white that I will be safe. I don't agree with them therefore I am not safe. Don't think that just because you are around your own race or nationality that you are safe.

This is only about protecting the Citizens of all colors and protecting our borders from people who have no love for our country except what they can take. GOOD JOB COSTA MESA!

I think that much is revealed about a person who calls any immigrant, illegal or not, an idiot. You might as well call yourself that, along with bigoted, racist, xenophobic, etc.

I am convinced that whites that have this hateful and intolerant view are complete ingrates and intentionally overlook the people that contribute to sustaining their way of life.

This of course also applies to costa mesa, just go to south coast plaza on any day and into anyone of its pseudo-upscale dining establishments and look at who prepares the food. "La vie de France," really?

You want to have your "fine dining" and pretty landscaped cookie cutter homes but you don't want to see the people that make that possible.

To "John Stone," don't try to pass yourself off as someone who knows anything about politics south of the border because you are generalizing, and a s a result, you are completely off. Don't you ever wonder why there even is a drug business? It's the demand. And do you know how those with the demand ultimately get what they want? By arming the cartels. The guns flow from the U.S. in case you're not aware.

So don't be so quick to generalize and condemn another country by calling it corrupt when you don't criticize your own. Stop arming the cartels.

Stop being hypocrites.

Cheating, fraud, stealing identities and other unethical behavior regarding the process of immigration is unacceptable. Period.
NOBODY gets to live here without being identifiable.

Without legal entrance, you get chaos and inefficiency. Perhaps we've simply gotten way past a saturation point, even for legal immigration because we have limited jobs, resources and infrastructure. None of these things is bottomless. Considering that so much of our manufacturing industry left the country, it's a terrible economic calculus to allow foreign nationals to compete with Americans for what's left.
That's not racist, that's the law of numbers and competition.
We all understand wanting a better way of life. But it's wrong to make it come at the expense of others.
Black Americans didn't flood Canada or other countries to escape Jim Crow. They stood their ground, endured the risks and made this country a better place to live for everyone. If a minority can accomplish that, think what the masses who are majorities in their native countries could.
It's not racist to expect an immigrant to respect this country's culture and take the same responsibilities all citizens MUST.
And if someone else can't be bothered, then they shouldn't be here.

In Costa Mesa, for example, Placentia Avenue, there are numerous older apartment houses that have become a haven for illegal immigrant workers. The neighborhood there is much like the densely numerous apartment houses in North Hollywood, adjacent to the Los Angeles Police Department Division Headquarters that harbors illegal immigrant workers. There are no laws prohibiting landlords from renting to illegal immigrants, and landlords are not required to check the ids of prospective tenants. The city of Farmer's Branch, Texas had attempted to prohibit landlords from renting to illegal immigrants until a court issued its restraining order to suspend the city's immigration law pending. Many American employers do not verify the ids of prospective employees with the federal government. There are many forms of counterfeit id being used by illegal immigrants. Landlords help support illegal immigrants while there is a shortage of housing for Americans that are looking for an affordable residence. The fourteenth amendment of the US Constitution inspired some expectant illegal immigrants to have their newborns delivered in the US in order for the children to become naturalized citizens; however, these illegal immigrants have duel citizenship. These are some of the many problems associated with illegal immigrants entering the United States.

Why don't the Mexicans stay at home to improve their own county. They have no business over-running our border, coming into America demanding RIGHTS!! they don't deserve.

i lived in a arizona for many years along with my husband. the immigration is a huge problem in arizona. have you ever been to the emergency room in downtown phoenix?? no one speaks english.
my problem is with the people who commit crimes and don't pay taxes, and they somehow get financial aid from our government and they feel they have rights in our country.
the people that are calling others hypocrits are usually the people that have extended family in this country that arent supposed to be here. This law is a law, roosevelt passed a similar one for freed slaves.
Theres a right way and a wrong way to come to this country and I love that Costa Mesa is backing up Arizona. PAY TAXES!!!!!

Find me some gringos who will pick strawberries, and take care of my garden, and I'm all for it.

Kudos to Costa Mesa. The rest of the US should do the same. My family has been in Los Angeles for several generations and it has never looked as janky Tijuana-like as it does now. It is so sad

ive lived in the city my whole life, born and raised, im 24 now. its just all noise, all the old super conservatives that also wanted to pass prop 8 getting worried as the first and second generation latinos become successful and begin moving into the east side. boo hoo . this isnt really a concern for anyone except the racist conservatives. go to arizona.

the new RASCIST law says will not racial profile and only ask for proof of citizenship if they are in suppicoun of doing something wrong...how is playing a game of soocer doing something wrong?? thats RACIAL PROFILING!!! im mexican and was born in whittier so if i go 2 costa mesa and play soccer the cops are going 2 think im illegal ! this is rascist how IGNORANT to think that every mexican is illegal !

This whole issue is an example of how insane we have become. Why is it an issue to have to provide legal proof of residency? There is no logical arguement for it. You can name call all you want (Nazi, racict, etc), but that only comes off as desperation and the inability to intelligently argue for reasons to allow hordes of poor, unskilled, uneducated, possible criminal and/or terrorists to pour into our country. I sympathize for people wanting to make a better life for themselves, but do it legally. We are not obligated to support the poor and destitute of Mexico, Central, and South America. I back Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Arizona, and whatever city/state stands up and supports the law of the United States. The problem with the border states is that illegal immigration is so imbedded and gone on for so long that illegal immigrant children have grown to become politicians and policy makers. They have a single agenda and thats to pander to illegal immigrants. They care little about any non-latino American citizen. Thats obvious. Our way of life is in jeopardy and needs to be defended. It starts by standing up for our laws and voting out politicians that have such a transparent un-American agenda.

you feel this is right ? for cops in costa mesa to go where people are playing soccer and start harrasing them to see if there illegal?? that's racial profiling !! so if i go 2 play soccer that gives them the right to question me ? how would u like it if i went 2 white people and said what trailer park do u live in ? or blacks and said what part of compton do u stay at ? that's racial profilling !!

the rascist law says .cops will check legal status if supicous of commiting a crime . now this is where u white people say well there illegal thats a crime . how can u determine there illegal by looking at them .thats racial profilling DUMMY !!!! what was the crime they were supicious of ? playing soccer looking for work ??

"Costa Mesa Firmly Stands Against Illegals and I Firmly Stand with Costa Mesa!"

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement! ENFORCE THE LAW! STOP ALLOWING CRIMINALS TO HAVE BENEFITS! Everyone here ILLEGALLY is a criminal - they are breaking our laws!

It's time for politicians to stop being greedy and start enforcing our laws and protecting our country!

GO COSTA MESA! GO YORBA LINDA! More cities need to take a stand against the influx of criminals!

Typical slanted news. How come they don't interview white people? The LA Times has shown, time and time again, that they support illegal immigration, both through their editorials, and by the very fact of hiring said illegals. Who do you think delivers, at a very low cost, the daily newspaper to homes around the county? Nothing against those who would work hard, but either we all obey the rules, or none of us do.

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