A day after throngs of angry demonstrators prevented three buses carrying undocumented immigrants from reaching a federal facility in Murrieta, some residents were calling the scene “shameful.”
“Someone has to speak for social justice for peace, love, whether we have the money or not,” said Paula Heady of Lake Elsinore.
As the buses arrived at the Murrieta facility Tuesday afternoon, protesters waved American flags, chanted “U.S.A., U.S.A.” and held up signs that read “return to sender,” “stop illegal immigration” and “support U.S. Border Patrol.”
After being turned away from the U.S. Border Patrol facility in Murrieta on Tuesday, the buses returned to San Diego County where the nearly 150 immigrants were taken to seven separate facilities, a Border Patrol union representative said.
In Chula Vista, the reception was less hostile, with a handful of people greeting the buses with signs reading, “This land is your land,” “Compassion,” and “Welcome,” according to the KTLA sister-station Fox 5 San Diego.
Gabe Pacheco, a union representative for Border Patrol agents, told the San Diego station on Wednesday that the group had been dispersed among seven Board Patrol stations within San Diego County for processing.
Some immigrants were in medical quarantine in San Ysidro, Pacheco said. He did not have details on the reason for the quarantine.
Several children who were sick were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, he said.
None of the migrants were taken to the Murrieta facility, Pacheco said.
The immigrants were initially flown to California from Texas, which has been overwhelmed with arrivals from across the border, Fox 5 reported.
This year alone, more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained by Border Patrol agents across the Southwest, primarily along the Rio Grande border, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In order to shift the burden away from Texas, the migrants were being sent to several other cities with facilities, including Murrieta, the Times reported.
Murrieta Mayor Alan Long said on Monday that Murrieta could receive about 140 immigrants every 72 hours for several weeks, and most of them were parents and children who were coming to the U.S. from Central America.
Long and the city of Murrieta objected to the immigrants’ transfer to the Riverside County city, according to a news release from the municipality.
“This is a failure to enforce federal law at the federal level,” Long said in the release, sent out Monday.