SANTA ANA—As local law enforcement appealed to Latino leaders Wednesday to help with controversial plans to enforce immigration laws, one Hispanic activist threatened protests in Costa Mesa if the proposals are approved.
Nativo Lopez said if the plans are enacted he will ask Latinos to refuse to cooperate with Costa Mesa police through a campaign of “non-confidence and silence,” will launch a boycott of businesses within the city, and will hold a mass march and rally there on President’s Day weekend.
Police sweeps are nothing new, Lopez said, but now police and politicians are using fears brought on by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to justify a public policy that they say will help cut crime.
“The fallacy of these arguments about crime and security is that they have been tried before, but previously the anti-immigrant crowd did not have the Twin Towers as their big fig leaf,” Lopez said.
Carona and Hensley didn’t react to Lopez’s threat during the forum. Both asked Latino leaders for help in educating the community on their plans, which they said have been mischaracterized as racial profiling and sweeps aimed at undocumented immigrants.
For the past 18 months, Carona has been fine-tuning a proposal to train deputies who work in the jails and on investigations to enforce federal immigration laws against those foreign nationals suspected of a felony or who have been convicted of serious crimes.
Carona said his proposal seeks to get “the worst of the worst” off the streets and back to their home country. The plan will not be a license to do sweeps, but is rather a “thoughtful” proposal that is not as radical as it’s being portrayed, he said.