Hundreds flooded a town hall meeting Wednesday night to voice their opinion on the buses of migrant families being shuttled into a Southern California city as its mayor said the town feels "dumped on" by the federal government.
The meeting at Murrieta Mesa High School in Murrieta was at capacity as both supporters and opponents made their frustrations known.
"So you are against immigration? Splendid! When do you leave?" one sign read. "We are not illegal, we are humans," read another.
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The town hall meeting comes one day after buses carrying migrant families were rerouted to a U.S.-Mexican border station Tuesday after being blocked by protesters in Murrieta waving American flags.
Protesters, some yelling, "They're not born here!" and "Go back to Mexico!" stood in the street, blocking the buses as they were headed to the city's border patrol station.
Police stood firm in front of the three-bus convoy carrying 140 undocumented immigrants, who illegally crossed into the United States through Texas.
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"Their number one priority was to keep everyone safe, people on the buses safe, protesters on both sides of this issue safe, and that's exactly what they did," Murrieta Mayor Alan Long said in an interview before the town hall. "They allowed people to exercise their constitutional rights."
Emotional residents applauded the fact the buses turned away and demanded more action.
"Please use the word illegal aliens," one attendee said to applause. "They came across here illegally."
To one person's question at the town hall as to whether the city would see another bus, city officials said they will "receive one airplane every 72 hours."
Meanwhile, demonstrators outside the town hall expressed empathy and held signs in support of the move to let the buses in.
"I am undocumented myself and I understand what it feels like to be pushed away and not wanted in this country," a woman waiting outside said.
The city's mayor addressed that Murrieta has been thrust into the national spotlight because this border patrol station is in his city.
He said in an interview that he feels compassion for migrant families who are escaping violence and poverty in Central America, but he's also frustrated by the lack of guidance from federal authorities.
"And now we feel like we're being dumped on, and we are utilizing our resources with no financial help, with no resource help," Long said. "In fact, the Department of Homeland Security to date has not talked to us about this."
Long said he is also frustrated with the country's leaders for failing to act on immigration reform and putting his city on the front line of a national border debate.
"That's the frustrating part," Long said. "You have both sides the White House saying there's an issue needs to be fixed, Congress saying needs to be fixed."
More buses are scheduled to arrive in Murrieta on Friday, and the police are preparing for protesters to be there, too.
"I would anticipate if everyone remained peaceful, you would see the same outcome," Long said.
Christina Cocca contributed to this report.