MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — Dozens of protesters blocked the road Tuesday so buses full of undocumented immigrants couldn’t make their way to a U.S. Border Patrol Station in Murrieta.
Approximately 140 people were flown into San Diego from Texas at 11 a.m. and bused to Murrieta around 2:20 p.m., with similar groups expected to arrive every three days.
The situation was tense as protesters unleashed their fury over immigration, with one man spitting into the face of a man who opposed him.
“They have come so far, they’ve worked harder than you’ve ever worked, they’ve worked harder than you’ve ever worked in your whole life!” one woman screamed.
Another woman told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Tom Wait: “We have enough issues here: we have our own veterans, we have homeless mothers, we have a lot of people living on the streets of L.A. We need to take care of these people first.”
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement buses, impeded by protesters, eventually left Murrieta and headed south to a detention facility in San Ysidro.
The immigrants are being redirected to California because Texas border officials are overwhelmed by a recent surge in illegal border crossings.
Murrieta was one of the cities chosen to help process the immigrants because it has a federal border protection facility.
Border Patrol agents describe the recent rush of immigrants as mainly families with children, as well as unaccompanied children.
The increase in border crossings has been linked to rumors in Central America that children are eligible for legal U.S. residency. The surge has also been prompted by violence and extortion from gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Murrieta held a town hall meeting Monday where Mayor Alan Long assured concerned residents that the immigrants have no criminal backgrounds and that health screenings will be done. Some of them will likely be detained and could be outfitted with GPS tethers, CBS2’s Tom Wait learned.
Still, Long urged residents in the suburb of 107,000 people some 60 miles north of San Diego to call their elected officials and voice opposition to the plan.
“What we’ve been told is that most of these immigrants are families. These are mothers and young children, or fathers and young children,” Long said. “What will happen is once they’re processed by the border patrol they’ll be released to ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents who make sure they get to their destination or transportation hubs.”
The fight over the crisis continues in Washington, D.C., where President Barack Obama is looking at ways to secure the border by executive action.
He says he can no longer wait for congressional immigration reform, which has outraged Republican lawmakers as they contend the president is overstepping his authority.