Commentary: Costa Mesa should take a stand against California declaring itself a ‘sanctuary state’

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a Capitol news conference in July after signing “sanctuary state” legislation that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States without documents.
(Photo by Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

With the Legislature recently passing Senate Bill 54, it has become increasingly important to speak up on issues regarding the public’s safety. Many cities have been taking different approaches, anywhere from resolutions, to lawsuits, to ordinances, and all have different impacts.

But the need to take action on this important issue is clear. Back in 2006 I pushed for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent to be in our jail to screen arrestees for their immigration status. As a result we turned over to ICE 1,300 undocumented immigrants who were charged with committing crimes in Costa Mesa.

These were serious crimes like burglary, robbery, drug offenses, sex offenses, weapons charges, etc. During that time other cities and politicians largely took no action on the issue.

In 2010 I put a resolution forward to make Costa Mesa a rule of law city — the first in the country to make such a declaration. Again, other cities and politicians were mostly silent. I am glad to see them finally catching on and bringing the issue forward for their councils to vote on.

I have requested that our City Council take up this issue at our first meeting in May. But don’t hold your breath on the outcome. A couple of months ago I put forward a letter opposing SB 54, the “sanctuary state” bill, but it was voted down 3-2 by the council majority.

I have complete respect for legal immigration, as both of my parents immigrated to this country legally, and I am a first-generation American. We all take an oath of office to uphold our laws and the people in our city deserve no less.

ALLAN MANSOOR is a member of the Costa Mesa City Council.