Monday, January 15, 2007

"Born In East L.A." - A New Reality

Back in 1987 many of us laughed at the plight of Cheech Marin's character, Rudy, in the movie "Born In East L.A." Rudy, a Latino American citizen, was picked up by an INS raid and, since he didn't have his identification on him and no one could contact his mother because she was on a trip to Fresno, Rudy was deported to Mexico with other factory workers. The movie follows his travails as he tries to make his way back. It was actually very funny - then.

Today in Costa Mesa that scenario is very likely to play out in real life. I can see the very real possibility of legal residents being swept up by overly-aggressive police officers and being mishandled at the jail, resulting in deportation.

Based on the report from the first month of activity by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent assigned to the Costa Mesa jail, half of the people detained and processed for deportation are those apprehended for misdemeanors. This is in direct conflict with Mayor Mansoor's often repeated assurance that he wasn't interested in sweeps, only in getting dangerous felons, repeat offenders, off our streets so they couldn't prey on our residents. So, even though he didn't get his original wish for all Costa Mesa patrol officers to be certified as immigration screeners, the effect will be the same. If this continues to play out the way it appears it might, soon the brave men and women of the CMPD will find themselves snatching up every person of brown skin who commits even the most minor of offenses - jaywalking, parking violations or lingering near a convenience store after buying a refreshment following a hard day at work. Instead of chasing those dangerous felons the mayor is so concerned about - a job they do very well, by the way - the CMPD will become de facto immigration agents.

This is just another example of the mayor's curiously tentative relationship with the truth. Of course, to those of us who watched him obfuscate his way back into office this past fall, it comes as no surprise. Beneath his cherubic countenance there lies a darker side.

Now, before you go all apoplectic on me, let me state one more time that I do not support illegal immigration. See, that was a simple, declarative statement - unambiguous and easy to understand, right? I fully understand the impact of illegal immigrants on our country. I understand the burden they place on our social services and education system. I understand that, instead of spending that money they work so hard to earn, they send a large portion of it "home" in the form of remittances. Those remittances sent to Mexico, last estimated at more than $15 billion annually, represent the second greatest form of income for that country - oil revenues are number one.

I also understand that it is simply not practical to yank every illegal immigrant currently working in this country from the labor force and deport them back to their country of origin. Extracting those 12-30 million workers from the workforce would cripple our economy. Yes, I've heard the bogus argument that those workers are taking jobs from "real Americans". That's a load of bull! When is the last time you saw a bunch of white people - "real Americans" - picketing a field for the backbreaking work of harvesting strawberries or any other crop? Not in the last 20 years, at least. When did you last see "real Americans" picketing hotels or restaurants for jobs as maids, custodians, dishwashers or cooks? Give me a break!

As I've said many times before, real illegal immigration reform must start with secure borders. Until they are secure, all those people the ICE man at the Costa Mesa jail identifies as illegal and processes for deportation will soon be back, probably working in their old jobs. Fix the border first, then let's discuss the solution to the question of those already here. Maybe a form of amnesty will work. I'd support that only if the borders are secure to block further illegal immigration. Perhaps we should consider a program of guest workers similar to the bracero program that was in place when I was growing up. It worked well for it's duration.

Our mayor and his cronies are looking for simple solutions to complicated problems. If simple solutions were workable someone would have implemented them long ago. There are not simple solutions to these issues. For example, no one has addressed what happens to the American citizen children of illegal immigrant parents who might be deported. What's the mayor's solution to the plight of those citizens? Will he propose revoking their citizenship? That wouldn't surprise me at all.

Another related question for our "tough on criminals" mayor... how does he feel about the 57 white supremacists rounded up a few weeks ago - 20 of which were picked up in Costa Mesa at 17 different sites? To date, we have heard nothing at all from our mayor on the subject. Since he, and his buddy who runs the CM Press, are so vocal about the illegal immigrant criminals among us, it strikes me as curious that both of them have been completely mute on those raids. It is not illogical to assume that, since they've said nothing about an issue that really cries out for comment, they might be sympathetic to those folks. As the old saying goes, their silence speaks volumes.

And, before I forget, I want to wish my old pal at the CM Press a very happy Martin Luther King Day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for reiterating that you are against illegal immigration. I must take issue, however, with your assertion that, in your opinion, legal citizens will get "swept up" and "mishandled" in Costa Mesa's jail - even deported.

Hogwash, and I truly think you know it. If the point is to get the cauldron boiling, good job!

Unfortunately, you are using hot air and nonsense in your attempt to discredit anything Mansoor.

First of all - there are no immigration "sweeps," which you know quite well as fact, yet you choose to ignore such inconveniences as fact. Everyone booked into jail, of which two thirds were not even interviewed during the first month ICE was in the jail, is there because a Costa Mesa police officer arrested them for an alleged crime and booked them into jail. Speeding tickets, registration tickets, jaywalking, etc. do not land you in jail unless you have a warrant of cannot produce identification. Very simple, very legal, very straightforward.

As outlined in the Daily Pilot article, those suspected of being here illegally have detainers placed on them, they are not immediately deported. They aren't placed on a bus and driven to the border, as in your movie reference. The actual deportation process is not immediate unless you are a known illegal immigrant who has been deported previously.

A discussion over the actual deportation process is unnecessary, as a legal resident would be able to immediately prove their status (if interviewed at all) any number of ways.

I find it ironic that you are essentially agreeing with "Your Neighbor" by basically saying the Costa Mesa Police are incompetent and not doing their jobs. How else would they allow someone they arrest to be "mishandled" in their jail. Nice unintended target of your ill-conceived swipe at anything Mansoor.

ICE's presence in the Costa Mail Jail has proven that it is an absolute success after just one month. Fully ten percent of the people booked into the jail had detainers placed on them, which shows just how pervasive criminal illegal immigrants are in Costa Mesa. I applaud any effort to get someone who is in our community illegally - and then continues to commit additional crimes - out of our community as quickly and legally as possible. Living here illegally shows a lack of respect for our civil society and our laws in the first place. To then go on and break additional laws to a degree that gets one arrested and jailed is proof that that person has no place in our community.

How could you possibly advocate allowing illegal immigrants who commit additional crimes to stay in our community?

1/15/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Wow! You are actually reading this stuff! Thanks for your viewpoint.

Of course I know the CMPD is doing a bang-up job, as attested to by the recent crime reports. I do not think they are targeting Latino jaywalkers. Of course I know the detainees are not thrown on a bus and driven immediately to the border, as was the case in the movie I mentioned above. Yes, I know that illegal aliens who have been previously deported who are identified are "expedited" out of the country.

You cut me to the quick by comparing me to "Your Neighbor", but it was a clever comment. I also resent your allegation that it's my intention to "swipe at anything Mansoor". I only point out what I think are bad moves and/or bad intentions on the part of our young jailer/mayor. It's not my fault he makes so many of them, is it?

Of course, I do not "advocate allowing illegal immigrants who commit additional crimes to stay in our community". That's an amazing bit of spin - I feel like I'm riding the Disneyland Tea Cups after reading it!

As always, thanks for writing.

1/15/2007 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Removedor de la olla:
The agreement between our government and ICE to have an immigration officer in our jail system works well for Mansoor, El SEIS (your neighbor, namely MILLARRRDDDDDD) and all of those who dislike Latino families. No one is going to deny that, out of the 40% of Latinos living in Costa Mesa, a good number of them are undocumented (exact figure is unknown). Many of those unlucky undocumented pulled over by the Costa Mesa police for a mere moving violation are now facing deportation, and more likely they will be leaving behind family members, many of them children (American citizens, by the way), who depend on their daily earnings and income. Who is going to protect their kids and other families when they leave? Unfortunately these kids are now easy targets to gangs and other criminals looking for fresh blood. A few years from now we will have more criminals in our streets because of Mansoor’s policy. He needs to take some sociology courses or a class in economics to understand this new development, or maybe he needs to go back to school. I wonder if 2 years of JC College is enough to be a Mayor?

1/15/2007 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


No one wants to break up families and leave kids without parents. But the parents living here illegally are directly responsible for the consequences of their decisions - not the representatives of our government doing their duty and enforcing the law of the land. I am fascinated by your reasoning - the burden is NOT on the parents to protect their children from the consequences of the parent's actions? If they don't want to face deportation and separation, they should return to their home countries and apply to come here legally. If the federal government develops a program that will allow residency - they should take full advantage of that and obtain legal status. Just don't ask us to ignore the laws of our society because someone refuses to abide by them.

1/16/2007 12:35:00 PM  

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