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by Leslie Radford
Sunday, Dec. 25, 2005 at 10:59 AM
Costa Mesans marched and rallied in opposition to the city council's vote to turn the police department into border patrol agents.
a_child_in_costa_mesa.jpg, image/jpeg, 430x473
COSTA MESA, CA, December 23, 2005--Eighty people, calling Costa Mesa's Mayor
Mansoor a racist and proclaiming "Ningún ser humano es ilegal,"
marched through Costa Mesa this afternoon in outrage at the city council's
resolution to empower the city police department to check the immigration status
of suspects. The city is the first in the country to commit its police to border
control, and the demonstrators were determined to reverse that.
The protestors, made up mostly of Mexican-Americans with a handful of white
anarchists and activists, gathered at 3:00 p.m. on Sunflower Avenue, in plain
sight of holiday shoppers at the South Coast Plaza mall. An hour later,
the group marched along Sunflower waving their signs as motorists speeding by
honked their horns in support.
I walked for a while with one of the event organizers, a woman from Colectivo
Tonantzin. We had met before, after the anti-Minuteman protest in Garden
Grove, where several protestors were run down by a Jim Gilchrist supporter and
five were ultimately arrested, one for "stealing" a flashlight lying
on the ground. She and the others had a red-hot anger at the May Minuteman
meeting that had made manifest the racism next door. Now, more than six
months later, she and the group were steely-eyed and determined. They were
here to do business, to expose the city council for scapegoating immigrants and
for officially dividing the people of Costa Mesa along ethnic lines.
Mayor Mansoor's original proposal, which would have targeted people of
Meso-American descent for immigration checks for the smallest infraction, even
jaywalking, was roundly opposed by the overwhelming majority of the
200-plus residents attending the December 6 city council meeting.
Despite the fierce opposition, Costa Mesa became the first city in the nation
to authorize its police department to verify residency status.
The policy the council would train police officers to verify the residence
status of any person suspected of a crime with US Immigration. Mansoor
claimed the verification training would make the streets of the city safer - but
he could not explain how residency checks would accomplish that. The
program will cost several hundred thousand dollars and has no provisions to
deter false arrest or mass roundups of so-called suspects for immigration
checks. The protestors plan to continue pressuring the city council to
reverse it new policy of legalized racial profiling.
The marchers turned left onto Fairview Road, into a working class
neighborhood earmarked by the Costa Mesa Planning Commission for gentrification.
I stopped to make a purchase and fell a block or two behind the group. At
the next light, a couple of marchers had waited for me to catch up. We
chatted about the long walk, the early darkness, and the small guitar one of
them carried. We caught up with the others, and my companions joined the
other guitarists who had accompanied us.
Enveloped in the soltice darkness, we reached Fairview and Fall Drive, where
the group broke into long chants of "The people united will never be
defeated!" and "¡Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos!" As the
guitarists picked up the rhythm, the chants turned melodious as we approached
the police station. We were met there by more protestors, and together we
cheered on speakers as the police videotaped us and print journalists counted
the crowd. Only a few of us recognized the four members of Save Our State,
an anti-immigrant group which had promised a counterprotest, huddled by their
pickup truck in the parking lot.
I looked around to discover we were surrounded by and intertwined with
children. Tiny ones in their fathers' arms, toddlers dressed up in fuzzy
coats and furry boots, boys and girls doing cartwheels on the grass lawn of the
station. I wondered how it would feel to grow up in a nation where the
police demanded, "Papers, please."
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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 72 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
||Sunday, Dec. 25, 2005 at 3:23 PM
||Amor y Paz
||Monday, Dec. 26, 2005 at 12:13 AM
|American citizens VOTE
||Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 6:02 AM
||1st hand source
||Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 4:40 PM
|1st hand source
||Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 5:15 PM
||1st hand source
||Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 8:23 PM
|VOTE 1st hand
||Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 10:33 PM
||Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005 at 11:56 PM
||Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 2:36 AM
||1st hand source
||Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 7:16 PM
|OK 1st Hand
||Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 7:59 PM
|1st hand source
||Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 10:19 PM
|Definition of a Fasicist (it's u Tramp and Minutewoman)
||Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005 at 11:15 PM
|The Mayor of Costa Mesa has the
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 2:04 AM
|how dare costa mesa enforce the law! :(
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 3:32 AM
|To st hand
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 6:05 AM
|Oh, El Chivo
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 6:58 PM
|To 1st Hand again
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 7:05 PM
|indy = nonsense?
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 7:11 PM
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 8:26 PM
|How do you identify an Undoc?
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 9:51 PM
|How do you identify an Undoc?
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 10:53 PM
|Only if Suspected
||Friday, Dec. 30, 2005 at 11:56 PM
|Hey People Relax
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 12:09 AM
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 3:16 AM
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 3:38 AM
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 4:42 PM
|East Los Angeles
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 6:46 PM
|how about Santa Maria?
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 7:23 PM
|OH El Chivo HURRAH
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 8:51 PM
|MEXICO is the problem
||BLAME Mexico first
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 8:56 PM
|Don't leave out the US
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 9:52 PM
||Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005 at 11:45 PM
|the agenda after the fence is built?
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 4:11 AM
|The agenda after 2016
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:05 AM
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 5:43 PM
|Getting rid of all the racists
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 6:56 PM
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 8:51 PM
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:22 PM
|El Chivo NEVER Give up!
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:27 PM
|Aztlan that's not nice!
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 9:44 PM
||Sunday, Jan. 01, 2006 at 10:58 PM
|Ningun ser humano es ilegal
||Monday, Jan. 02, 2006 at 12:12 AM
|Minutemen on border watch with Tom Metzger?
||Monday, Jan. 02, 2006 at 1:09 AM
|inmigrantes ilegales ningunos empleo
||Monday, Jan. 02, 2006 at 1:21 AM
|hay gente ilegal - es el ley
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 5:23 AM
|To El Chivo
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 5:26 AM
|To Border Raven
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 5:30 AM
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:05 AM
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:19 AM
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:25 AM
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:33 AM
|To Jammer and Minutewoman
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 6:55 AM
|NAFTA took my job to Canada in 1998
||Wednesday, Jan. 04, 2006 at 7:42 AM
||Monday, Jan. 09, 2006 at 2:34 AM
||Monday, Jan. 09, 2006 at 8:56 AM
||Monday, Jan. 09, 2006 at 9:07 AM
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