What Do YOU Think About Costa Mesa’s Immigration Controversy?

“It’s fracturing the community,” said Jean Forbath, a social activist who founded the Costa Mesa charity Share Our Selves. “The future of Costa Mesa and Orange County and all America is to accept each other. This program does not create communities.”

Have you seen this in today’s OC Register? They’re beginning a series on how the immigration controversy is affecting public policy in OC. And, of course, what better way to examine the immigration controversy than to look at what’s happening in Costa Mesa? What was once the place that Former Supervisor Tom Riley called “the city with a heart” has now become a place where immigrants live in constant fear of arrest and deportation.

In particular, Costa Mesa’s policy of checking the immigration status of everyone detained at the city jail and turning over undocumented immigrants for deportation has stirred up plenty of unrest. Oh yes, and even more controversy has been created with police officers being deputized to enforce immigration law. Supporters of these hard-line policies say that this has made Costa Mesa safer… But is that really the case?

So far, The Register is answering, “NO.” After all, many of those immigrants caught were small-time “offenders” who did nothing more than sleep in a car overnight or ride a bike on the wrong side of the road. Also, 3/4 of those immigrants arrested in Costa Mesa during the first six months had never before been charged with a crime in Orange County. In fact, 20 were arrested on cases so marginal that they were rejected by the DA’s Office or not even presented in the first place. Oh yes, and the paper was unable to identify any effect on crime in Costa Mesa, despite supporters’ assertions that the Costa Mesa is now safer.

So what do you think about Costa Mesa’s crackdown on immigrants? Is i

  21 comments for “What Do YOU Think About Costa Mesa’s Immigration Controversy?

  1. Andrew Davey
    December 17, 2007 at 11:09 am


    Please elaborate. The Register found that these immigrant arrests and deportations aren’t doing anything to make Costa Mesa. So is The Register wrong? Can you point out some data that proves them wrong?

  2. Andrew Davey
    December 17, 2007 at 11:40 am


    You still haven’t answered my question. What have these tough-on-immigrant ordinances done to make Costa Mesa safer? I find your semantics games amusing, but they still don’t address the issue at hand. Is Costa Mesa safer because of these ordinances, or are they just needlessly polarizing the community?

  3. Andrew Davey
    December 17, 2007 at 1:08 pm


    Then please stop giving foolish answers. Again, what are these ordinances doing to make Costa Mesa safer? So far, The Register has found NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that Allan Mansoor’s grandstanding on immigration is making CM any safer.

    So what evidence do you have to prove me & The Reg wrong? So far, the data shows that most of the immigrants being deported were accused of petty crimes like sleeping in a car or riding a bike on the wrong side of the road. Oh yes, and we don’t even know if all of these folks are actually GUILTY, as many don’t even get fair trials before they’re turned over to ICE to be deported.

    So unless you have facts to back up the Mansoor claims, you’re not making any progress here in our local reality-based community… Sorry. 🙁

  4. Santa Ana Resident
    December 17, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Poor SantaAnaCitizen. He has no real argument against The Orange County Register, so he has to throw up straw men to challenge the blogger at hand. He still hasn’t said anything about how these laws have made Costa Mesa safer. All he has is rehashed rhetoric from the bunch of silly councilpeople in CM that try to make names for themselves by being “tough on immigration”. haha

  5. Steven Greenhut
    December 17, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    What really bothers me is how the policy was sold to the public. We wrote an editorial recently criticizing Costa Mesa for claiming that the policy only would be used against the “worst of the worst,” but has ended up being applied to people picked up for infractions and misdemeanors. It’s a bad policy, and it was sold dishonestly to the public. Anyone see the front-page Times article Friday about how U.S. Border Patrol is using teargas to attack a Tijuana neighborhood? Illegal immigration may be somewhat of a problem, but I’m becoming convinced that the solutions are far worse than the problem itself.
    — Steven Greenhut

  6. Sean H. Mill
    December 17, 2007 at 3:40 pm


    For the record I am opposed to both Costa Mesa’s policy and 3 Strikes. I think that they both should be scrapped into more sensible public policies. You continual defense of the Costa Mesa policy by asserting 3 Strikes does not make sense to me. They are both bad public policies.

  7. Andrew Davey
    December 17, 2007 at 5:47 pm


    Illegal immigration may be somewhat of a problem, but IÂ’m becoming convinced that the solutions are far worse than the problem itself.

    Wow, we agree! I feel the earth move under my feet… 😉


    Absolutely! Allan Mansoor and allies are pursuing BAD policy, and it’s high time that they be called out for it. The Reg proved that these ordinances are doing NOTHING to make CM safer, and all the pro-Mansoor crowd can do here is bash the immigrants. Crazy, I tell you.

  8. December 17, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Great summary comment, Andrew. Thanks for bring the Registers series to our attention. And alright, forgive me but for the second time in an afternoon, I’ll suggest my own blog to you, where in the left column, I have linked a series of studies related to these issues. Click my name and you’ll go there. Peace.

  9. Andrew Davey
    December 17, 2007 at 6:36 pm


    No problem! And yes, I’ll take a look at your blog. If it’s not on our blogroll already, I’ll ask Chris to do so. 🙂

  10. S A Teacher
    December 17, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    I teach high school in Santa Ana. My students estimate that about 1 out 3 of them is undocumented, though absolutely no records of this are kept by schools. Most students in high school were brought here as young children (children break no law this way); they’ve pledged allegiance to the U.S. every morning beginning in grade school; they speak terrible Spanish with only the sparse vocabulary learned at home, and have to switch to English in any technical discussion; few feel any connection to Mexico. California is the only home they’ve known. Except for having been brought here illegaly years ago, they are as American as any other kid at the school, planning for college, thinking of joining the Navy or Marines. It isn’t until they graduate (or shortly before) that they become aware that major divisions of the government consider them criminals, subject to arrest and expulsion from their home.
    I hear no one in government differentiating between the longterm immigrant brought here as a child and the recently arrived adult. To drive out the former seems inhumane, on par with Slobodan Milosavic’s attempt to remove Albanians from Kosovo.

  11. December 17, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Agreed Santa Ana teacher. But the USA did once deport even US citizens of Mexican descent. In the 1930s, forced repatriation was for a time US policy. Estimates of the total number forcibly sent to Mexico–an unknown number of whom were actually US citizens–vary but start at half a million. This was a New Deal era project of FDR. There’s a deep history of racism and conquest attached to that border just south of the county to our south.


  12. anon
    December 17, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Hey Santa Ana Citizen. You’re history is one sided.

Comments are closed.