License Plate Readers Coming to Downtown Fullerton Spark Immigrant Concerns

Can you read me? (DMV)

By Sandra De Anda, OC Immigrant Youth United

Once free to residents, visitors and students, parking in downtown Fullerton will come at a price starting on June 6. That’s when folks will have to pay five bucks to park in garages and lots around the area Thursday through Saturday between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. The city’s rolling out the pilot program ostensibly as a money maker that allows them six months to gather new data in order to solve chronic parking problems.

Only, one form of surveillance in the parking revamp–a new license plate reader program–is becoming a cause for concern among undocumented immigrants and advocates.

According to a Voice of OC article, “kiosks will be used throughout the parking garages and lots and people will enter their license plate numbers in the system, while two portable license plate readers will be used by parking enforcement to track how long cars have been in certain stalls.” City Manager Ken Domer also told the news website that the license plate information won’t be linked to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) nor will it be sold to third parties. The Fullerton Police Department has its own license plate reader technology separate from the one to be introduced in downtown but will be managing the parking program’s data.

That does little to assuage concerns, especially for immigrant rights advocates.

“Despite statements from the city manager, there are still concerns because the data is nonetheless being collected,” says Ana Ramirez, a 14-year Fullerton resident and OC rapid response coordinator with Resilience OC. “And we once again find ourselves confronting the issue of transparency. We have to be hypercritical of who the city is contracting for the program.”

Fullerton may have reneged on efforts to join last year’s anti-sanctuary state revolt, but it’s still far from being a sanctuary city itself. And California’s “Sanctuary State” law is being thwarted one way or another by dozens of law enforcement agencies up and down the state.

According to Data USA, about 15 percent of Fullerton’s residents are non-citizens with an unknown undocumented population within that. Undocumented students also attend Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College. The city would be collecting license plate data with no real assurances against any potential sharing of such information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The fear is far from irrational given that OC law enforcement agencies have been noted to provide ICE access to their license plate databases.

But that’s not all.

Domer also stated to Voice of OC that up to 85 percent of downtown parking during peak hours is taken up by those working in the area dominated by bars and restaurants. Workers should be able to have access to free and accessible parking.

“By choosing to use license plate readers in the downtown parking areas, the city is taking a step in the wrong direction given that this impacts some of the most vulnerable populations–the undocumented community, as well as working-class folks,” says Ramirez. “The surveillance of our communities is taking place right before our eyes, and city officials are facilitating that process.”

25 Replies to “License Plate Readers Coming to Downtown Fullerton Spark Immigrant Concerns”

  1. If they are illegal aliens they are breaking the law and should have no voice in anything here. This however is another tax on top of the over taxation the Democrats put on the people.

  2. The state never asked the constituents if they thought we should be a sanctuary state… I expect if a vote was put to the Citizens of California we wouldn’t be discussing this.

  3. If you don’t break the law, nothing to worry about. I think they should offer free coffee and donuts to ICE officers all over Orange County!

  4. Little late to have concerns once the money has already been allocated and the purchase approved.

    Maybe some of these “concerned” people should have joined me in speaking out at council against this non-transparent program.

  5. Who the F*** cares what “concerns” the illegal aliens have?
    We should be rounding them up in droves anyway – and returning them to the wonderful parts of the world they came from.

    1. ILLEGAL aliens have no rights. I don’t get why this article is worried about ILLEGAL aliens being ousted.

    2. We should be gathering you family sending them the F*** back where they came from, damn immigrants! You disgust , you dirty old hick! Probably voted for Dump too!

  6. Undocumented students that attend Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton College can purchase parking permits and safely park at the schools . . . where license plate readers are already used.

  7. If they don’t like it either

    A) become LEGAL
    B) go back to where you came from to become LEGAL again


    C) Deal with it.

  8. Sounds like a Democrat concerned about votes.
    Undocumented is illegal so please get that correct if you want to be taken seriously.
    Unless this is about Reconquista and/or Aztlan. So, is it one or both of those?

  9. Look at all these white people that are commenting. Smelling like pennies, sweat and hot dog water! You guys are ALL immigrants!!

    1. Nothing wrong with being an immigrant. I pay my fare share of taxes, I pay ridiculously $$$ ‘required’ medical even though I’ve never been or have a need to see a doctor (except for a yearly preventative checkup) – but hey – If that money can be used to offset the medical cost of ‘legal’ residents/citizens not abusing the system – great!

      But rights for illegals that also abuse the system? – sorry … no sympathy from me.

      It makes me mad AND it’s an insult to all us others who played it legally from the beginning spending $$$ every year for keeping status and waiting 10+ years just to not be interrogated when crossing the border with still no voting rights for another 5-10 years.

      Sorry for the rant!

    2. When growing up in Fullerton as a legal, Mexican-American to parents who spoke Spanish as their first language (who were also here legally), we strived to become American. We became an English-only household and we respected the laws and customs of this country, endeavoring to assimilate into America. We endured significantly more extreme racism in the 70s-90s – the racism in OC at the time was more overt and in your face, it wasn’t just ethereal words some troll typed on some keyboard somewhere. We thought if we kept working hard and respecting the ethos of this country, it would pave the way for the next generation.

      Joke’s on me – I am constantly disappointed. We need to significantly reduce the stream of immigrants, and vet out anyone who doesn’t want to be here, or who wants to turn “here” into “there.” And of course, if someone doesn’t care to follow the procedure to get here legally, is that the type of person we really want here, permanently or temporarily even (citizenship and visa bans)? The view is pervasive among the Hispanics I know of my generation, but it’s safer to keep our mouths shut because conservatives of any color are vilified. God bless America.

  10. Wow, lots of negative hateful comments. I’m shocked at the things people addressed here! How about the fact that they are humans and have basic human rights. If you’ve ever struggled in a third world country or known anyone who has perhaps you’d have some sort of compassion. I don’t think these problems can be solved with such hate and a narrow minded outlook, the situation is not so simple as an A, B, C format and it’s not as easy to become a citizen as people assume. I think before people judge so harshly they should go live in a third world situation and come back and tell the rest of us that you wouldn’t try to come to another country that has better opportunities for your family. I’m glad we’re a sanctuary state and I’d vote for it and yes I’m white. I care for people, we all have basic human rights. Have some kindness and compassion in your hearts. Half the jobs here wouldn’t even be performed if it wasn’t for migrant workers. So many people think they’re too good for certain jobs. So before you think about deporting every immigrant, think about who’s going to pick all the fresh fruit and vegetables you like to eat, collect garbage, or clean your tidy little homes. Get off your high horses, you’re no better than anyone else as a matter of fact your hate makes you worse. Just plain disgusting.

    1. If we let everyone come here we will be the third world country. You act as if America has no limits to the amount of illegal immigrants it can absorb. At some point you have to stop filling the life raft with people as it will eventually sink, taking down everyone with it.

  11. These comments are beyond refreshing… Fullerton and California CAN be saved…

    I wonder if the liberal-elites in Mexico are super-concerned with the non-rights of illegals in their own country.

    “Mira, what about all the illegal gabachos? They need
    mas representation paid for by our tax dollars!”

  12. All these folks on this comment thread showing their true colors. Its funny how they spit venom and hate yet wouldnt have shit if it wasnt for the “illegal immigrants”. To be honest some of the best and nicest people who just wamt to earn a living and be safe and just provide for their families are “illegal” and some of the most internally ugly people have been those who support “rounding them up” sounding like a bunch of freaking NAZIS. In my opinion LPRs are just another money maker for the city plain and simple.

  13. Don’t derail the discussion into a racial argument. Stay on point. This is about legal vs illegal

  14. This is hilarious. Confusion ensues as righties wonder, do they hate surveillance or immigrants more?

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