Costa Mesa to study effects of ‘sanctuary state’ law


Costa Mesa officials say they want to study the possible local effects of a California “sanctuary state” law that expands protections for undocumented immigrants.

Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor and Councilman Jim Righeimer asked city staff Tuesday night to provide information on how Senate Bill 54 — which in many cases prohibits local and state police agencies from notifying federal officials when they’re about to release immigrants in their custody who may be subject to deportation — might affect Costa Mesa or the city’s policing efforts.

“I just don’t feel comfortable anymore, now that the state has done SB 54, to just do nothing,” Righeimer said. “We at least have to know what it means. We may find out that it means nothing. We may find out it means a ton.”


Mansoor agreed that the City Council should “have a good discussion on what we could or should do.” He pointed out that he asked his colleagues last year to send a letter opposing SB 54 but was unable to get a third council member to join him and Righeimer in supporting that action.

“Wow, you can’t tell it’s an election year, can you?” Councilwoman Katrina Foley said after Mansoor’s remarks. “We have all these weighty issues that we’re grappling with that are real, that are here and that are current and we’re going to invite more. So, woo-hoo, can’t wait.”

Both Foley and Mansoor have said they are running for mayor this year.

Councilman John Stephens said he wants to look into “the extent to which our actions regarding the sanctuary city issue will inhibit in any way our Latino community from engaging with our law enforcement.”

“That’s something that’s very important to me and it’s something that I will be considering,” he said.

While opposition to sanctuary laws has been building in Orange County recently, such a dispute is not new to Costa Mesa.

In 2010, Mansoor, who was mayor at the time, led a council action to declare Costa Mesa a “rule-of-law city when it comes to support for upholding immigration laws.” He also pushed the city to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to check the immigration status of crime suspects, and for a time, an ICE agent was stationed at the city jail for that purpose.

Marijuana ordinances

With no discussion Tuesday, council members finalized two code amendments related to marijuana.

One will allow development, manufacturing, research and testing of recreational marijuana products in the same area of the city where medical marijuana businesses are already permitted — north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard — subject to the same permitting process and restrictions.

The other amendment essentially makes permanent an urgency ordinance passed last year to prohibit retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products and the establishment of dispensaries and to limit marijuana cultivation to the extent possible under state law.

Council members approved both amendments 4-0. Stephens left the meeting shortly before the items came forward.

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