For the third time in a week, a plane full of undocumented immigrants landed in San Diego as part of the ongoing transfer of families and children from Texas to California.
More than 100 women and children disembarked the chartered plane, walked across the tarmac at Lindbergh Field and boarded three waiting buses just after 10 a.m.
The children appeared to range in ages from toddlers to teens.
The undocumented families and children from Central America were flown to San Diego for processing as part of the federal government's plan to address the nation’s border crisis.
Just before 11 a.m., the Department of Homeland Security buses were spotted heading south on Interstate 5 toward the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station Chula Vista in San Ysidro, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Around 1:30 p.m., at least three young mothers and their children were released outside of the Federal Building in downtown San Diego into the arms of friends and family, who shared tears and hugs as they were reunited.
Among them was 32-year-old Tania Rivera with her two children, all undocumented immigrants from Honduras.
She decided to flee the country when gangs killed her husband just five months ago, she told NBC 7.
"It's dangerous, and they killed him," said Rivera. "And at my son's school, they're kidnapping children, holding them for ransom and everything."
Rivera's sister-in-law was waiting downtown to pick her up. The woman said the last time she saw Rivera was when she married her brother more than a decade ago.
When asked about what she thought about the family coming to the country illegally, the sister-in-law said she does not necessarily agree with it, but she is now forced to help her.
Another family, 25-year-old Marta Marcela and her two children, entered into the U.S. illegally from Guatemala.
She told NBC 7 violence in her native country forced her out.
"There are always problems where we live," said Marcela. "There are protests over it every 20 days or 15 days. It's a volatile situation, and it's just one of the reasons we had to leave.
Border Patrol agents flew she and her kids to San Diego from Texas last week, and they were released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody Monday. A group that helps the Mayan community was there to pick the family up and reunite them with Marcela's husband in Los Angeles.
The CBP had originally said buses of undocumented immigrants could be transported to the Murrieta processing facility every third day beginning on July 1.
Those plans were thwarted by a small group of protesters that blocked the buses' arrival last week.
Officials from DHS, CHP or ICE were not willing to provide details regarding the release of the approximate 280 undocumented immigrants brought to San Diego on July 1 and 4.
A spokesperson for ICE said officials would not be providing that information for security reasons.
One union representative told NBC 7 the entire San Diego sector of CBP employees has been told not to discuss plans regarding the arrival and movement of undocumented immigrants in Southern California.
More Border Crisis Coverage:
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- Murrieta Mayor on Immigrants: City Feels "Dumped On"
- 5 Immigration Fears Explained