City In Orange County Seeks To Mirror Arizona’s Model

Reporting from Los Angeles

Less than 50 miles from downtown Los Angeles where the pro-immigration reform May Day march will take place on Saturday, you’ll find Costa Mesa, California. Two days ago, Costa Mesa’s Mayor announced that he is considering proposals to crack down on illegal immigration in an effort to follow the example of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law that was signed last week.

Immigrant groups in Los Angeles have condemned Mayor Allan Mansoor for perpetuating the current wave of anti-immigrant sentiment that has plagued parts of the nation. According to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Mansoor is targeting day laborers, those who hire them, and immigrants without drivers licenses. The latter would open the door to racial profiling.

“Costa Mesa is the small version of Arizona. They do have a history for being anti-immigrant and of being very ethnocentric,” said CHIRLA’s Jorge-Mario Cabrera. “They consider themselves an upper, middle class an-clay in Orange County.”

Since the 1994 controversial Proposition 187 was put before voters in California, there have been a few other initiatives to target immigrants. But none of those initiatives went anywhere, said Cabrera.

“We’ve been dealing with Costa Mesa for seven years and the Mayor’s newest proposals simply mirrors the cancer of intolerance that is spreading throughout the US,” he explained.

Different pro-immigrant coalitions have band together to tackle the issue in Costa Mesa, including the National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), CHIRLA, the ACLU and a few others.

Last February, day laborers in Costa Mesa protested a new ordinance that would prohibit them from seeking employment. The ordinance stated that:
It shall be unlawful for any person to stand on a street and actively solicit employment, business or contributions from any person in a motor vehicle traveling along a street.”

Pro-immigrant advocates argue that during the process of cracking down on undocumented immigrants in Costa Mesa, basic human rights are violated, unlawful arrests take place, and deportations separate families. These activists are looking towards Washington, DC and President Obama to pass immigration reform at the federal level before more cities and states take it upon themselves to draft more anti-immigrant laws.

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