Three buses filled mainly with undocumented immigrant children were forced to turn around in southern California Tuesday afternoon after a crowd of 200 to 300 anti-immigration protesters surrounded them. The buses were supposed to drop off about 140 migrants from Texas at a Murrieta, California processing facility when the crowd, full of people waving American flags, blocked their path, according to The Los Angeles Times.
The children were part of the surge of immigrants apprehended at the U.S./Mexico border — including over 52,000 unaccompanied children — mainly in the Rio Grande valley region of Texas. The surge has overwhelmed processing facilities there, and migrants have been sent to less crowded facilities in Arizona, New Mexico and California for processing and supervised release under immigration officials. The three buses eventually went to a Border Patrol station in San Ysidro, but city officials were told to expect new buses every three days.
It's the release part that sets people off. Protesters from neighboring cities, including San Diego, descended on Murrieta to wonder "Who’s going to pay for them? What kind of criminality will happen?" as Roger Cotton of San Diego asked. He said he blames Democrats eager for more Democratic voters for this "human disaster that the government created." Across the road, supporters of the immigrants waved Mexican flags.
On Monday, the Murrieta mayor encouraged residents to protest the arrival of the immigrants, because "Murrieta expects our government to enforce our laws, including the deportation of illegal immigrants caught crossing our borders, not disperse them into our local communities,” he said.
Other states have reacted negatively as well. Last month Arizona lawmakers threatened action against the government when Border Patrol agents began bringing the Texas overflow into their facilities. But some lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain have also called for increased scrutiny of the centers where children are being held and advocated for refugee applications to prevent illegal immigration at the source. In the mean time President Obama has requested $2 billion to, among other things, help expedite deportations to Central America, to the extreme disappointment of immigration advocates.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.