Advocates Gather in San Bernardino to Support Migrants

Immigration advocates met in San Bernardino to reach out to migrants bused into the Inland Empire community

Immigration advocates raced to help scores of immigrants arriving in Southern California on Wednesday, amid intense media coverage and a crush of protesters who swarmed their buses.

The groups said they were planning to hand out flyers to migrants with information about how to get legal representation, details about the immigration process and their rights in this country.

Migrant families, mostly women and children, from Central and South America were expected to be processed on Tuesday at the Border Patrol Station in Murrieta, a community about 81 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

But protesters waving American flags and shouting "Go back to Mexico" blocked the road where the buses were traveling. The protests forced the buses to return to the border station in San Ysidro.

It was unknown whether the buses would return, but advocates were hoping to avoid a repeat of Tuesday's demonstrations.

Once they're processed, the migrants will be required to check in every week with customs officials at the Homeland Security offices in San Bernardino. If they don't check in, they face immediate deportation.

Advocates said that the undocumented immigrants will be monitored and given court dates.

After being processed into the country, a process that can take up to 72 hours, they are expected to be released to loved ones or move on to their final destination anywhere in the country, at their own cost.

Dunia Cruz and her 16-month-old son, William, made the journey to live with family members in San Bernardino in May, fleeing violence in her home country of Honduras.


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She was in Texas for four days and she now has a chance to be processed in California, she said through a translator.

Another 140 migrants are expected to arrive in Murrieta on Friday, according to Emilio Amaya, of the San Bernardino Community Service Center.

Murrieta city officials, meanwhile, have been receiving phone calls, emails and other correspondence from across the country about the issue.

"Some of them not very nice, some of them threats," said Kim Summers, Murrieta's assistant city manager. "One of our secretaries picked up the phone and had an angry person saying they were going to kill her and her family."

The move to process migrants was designed to ease overcrowding at border facilities strained by an influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained after crossing the Texas-Mexico border since October in what President Barack Obama has called a humanitarian crisis. Many of the migrants are under the impression that they will receive leniency from U.S. authorities.

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