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Costa Mesa is Right on Immigration
by John Campbell [congressman] 8/27/07

The policies of the City of Costa Mesa which strive to enforce immigration laws during routine police work within the city, have been somewhat controversial.
They shouldn’t be. Regardless of your position on the future of legal immigration in this country, state and local police will need to aid in enforcing these laws if they are ever going to have any meaning. It doesn’t matter if you think there should be a huge guest worker program or no guest worker program. It also doesn’t matter if you think that the illegal immigrants here now should have amnesty or be forced to return to their country of origin or somewhere in between. Whatever you think immigration laws should be, I would presume that you think they should be enforced and that breaking them should have consequences. And to enforce them effectively, locals will have to participate.


John Campbell (R-Irvine) is a Member of Congress representing 48th Congressional district [Orange County, California]. He can be reached through his Congressional website. [go to Campbell index]

Here’s why. Of the estimated 12 million people illegally in the United States today, approximately half did not get here by running across a border or otherwise being smuggled in. They came here legally on a visa. Then they overstayed that visa. All the border fence in the world won’t stop that. You need a way for employers to know for sure if they are hiring a legal worker and then stiff penalties if they knowingly hire an illegal one. But you also need interior enforcement to apprehend those who are overstaying visas.
This is a big country. It would take hundreds of thousands of federal immigration officers to police the whole country. That would cost too much and be too intrusive. Instead, let’s just let local law enforcement officers check immigration status as part of routine police work. They are already out there every day in big numbers across the entire country. If a police officer stops you for speeding and sees you have illegal drugs in the car (Al Gore, Jr.), that officer will charge you for the drugs as well as the speeding. If that same officer on that same stop finds you are here illegally, why should you not be charged for that too?
There are state, city and county law enforcement officials cooperating today on the identification and monitoring of terrorist cells in Southern California. Why should such cooperation on enforcement of immigration laws not be just as accepted? Without such cooperation, any limited-time legal immigration will merely be an easy gateway to staying here permanently. That means we’ll be right back where we are today in a few years.
What Costa Mesa (and the County of Orange amongst other jurisdictions) has implemented, or something like it, is a necessary part of any immigration reform if it is to ultimately be successful. I hope we can all accept that and then leave the debate to the other particulars of said reform. CRO





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