They are only going to enforce immigration laws against "major criminals" that have committed "serious crimes"?
I guess thats why we need NEW laws, the old ones about illegal aliens were too vague
Police chief sells immigration plan
Hensley crisscrosses Costa Mesa in effort to explain mayor's proposal to have police enforce laws.
By Alicia Robinson
Jan 24, 2006
Costa Mesa Police Chief John Hensley has launched a major public information campaign to answer questions and soothe fears about the City Council's plan to enforce immigration laws.
He spoke to a Costa Mesa community group and at a public forum in Santa Ana last week, and he's gotten so many other requests he has even delegated some of his officers to speaking engagements.
Meanwhile, Mayor Allan Mansoor -- who spearheaded the immigration enforcement plan -- has made just one appearance. He discussed the plan with the Orange County Congregation Community Organization, which he said is the only group questioning the plan that's asked him to speak.
Mansoor has accepted an invitation to speak Wednesday at a meeting of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, which supports stepped-up enforcement efforts.
Mansoor was invited but unable to participate in last week's forum.
The plan, approved by the council in December in a 3-2 vote, entails training some city police employees to check the immigration status of people suspected of serious crimes. Details are still being hammered out by Costa Mesa officials, but the proposal has raised concerns in the community, particularly among Latino residents, who worry they'll be targeted because of how they look.
Hensley said the biggest problem he faces is the idea that city police will be doing immigration sweeps. He addressed that question at a forum last week with Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, who is in the final stages of developing an immigration enforcement plan for his department.
"I can't seem to get this message across that that's not what was adopted by the City Council," Hensley said. "I don't know how to get around that other than to continually get out into the community."
Mansoor said he's willing to meet with anyone who asks, but he still does not understand the opposition to the plan.
"The sheriff has been meeting with a lot of these groups for two years now, and they still oppose his plan," Mansoor said.
"The only thing I see is that the people that are opposing this want zero enforcement, and I just don't understand how someone doesn't want to take a major criminal off the street, because that's what this does."
Since the Police Department will be putting the immigration plan into action, Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce President Ed Fawcett finds it natural and even preferable that the chief is the one explaining it.
Hensley will discuss the plan at a chamber board meeting and a breakfast in early February.
"I'm glad to see the chief is out there because I think he will be objective in his appraisal and he also will come with hands-on experience.... I think the comments back from him are more important than the comments back from a politician," Fawcett said.
After meeting with the chief and the mayor, some members of the Orange County Congregation Community Organization still have questions about the city's proposal, said Paty Madueno, a community leader with the group.
The group thinks Carona's plan is not clear enough, and that Costa Mesa's plan would duplicate the county's efforts, she said.
Though the group opposes both plans, Madueno said members still want to be part of any decisions.
"We want to protect our community," she said.
"Whatever is going to affect our community, we want to go back and inform them."