MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — Officials are dealing with more protests in Murrieta Friday as activists await a group of undocumented immigrants scheduled to arrive from Texas.
Law enforcement tried to keep the peace between protesters and supporters by separating them with yellow police tape.
Around 9 a.m., police handcuffed protester Larry Spencer, 54, and placed him under arrest after he allegedly disobeyed the lawful order of an officer. He was brought to the Murrieta police station where he was cited for a misdemeanor and released, Capt. Dennis Vrooman said.
“It’s a free speech issue,” Spencer said before the arrest. He vowed, “I am not going anywhere.”
Murrieta’s border patrol station has been in the spotlight in the immigration debate since city leaders announced they would begin processing busloads of undocumented immigrants every three days after a surge of illegal crossings overwhelmed authorities in Texas.
“My heart just goes out to them, because I think many people just don’t understand immigration. It’s not as black and white as it’s seen on television,” a supporter said. “There’s a lot of deeper issues and a lot of reasons why children and the men and women that are trying to escape their countries are coming here to the U.S.”
Federal officials in Texas say they need the help of facilities in Murrieta and several other Southwestern facilities to process those detained.
On Monday, Murrieta mayor Alan Long appeared on national television and encouraged residents to protest the use of the city’s federal facility.
Protesters Tuesday blocked the first of three buses to arrive in the area, which forced those buses to detour to other processing areas along the border.
But by Friday, Long seemed to change his tune. He told City News Service Friday that immigration reform needs to take place on the federal level and not on the streets.
It is unclear when this second wave of immigrants is expected to arrive Friday.