San Diegans gathered Saturday morning to take part in a nationwide protest against immigration reform amid the border crisis.
With American flags and opposition signs in hand, dozens of protesters united along the Interstate 8 overpass in La Mesa near Severin Drive to voice their opinions on illegal immigration.
“We think our border needs to be better protected,” said Ocean Beach resident Lucy Ingalls.
“Crime is coming in, we have disease coming in, we have mothers sending their kids off by themselves to get sick and die on their own and I think that’s a huge crime. I think we need to care about these children,” she continued.
Melanie Kortlang, also opposed to illegal immigration, said that for her, the issue really hits close to home.
“I have suffered the cost of illegal immigration. My daughter was hit and killed by an illegal alien and I made a promise to her that I will not let her be forgotten,” she told NBC 7.
“It’s time that this country takes a stand and says enough is enough. Let’s start taking care of our own kids. We have hungry, homeless children on our streets here. We have our veterans who are dying on the streets,” Kortlang added. “We’ve had enough. It’s time to secure our borders and enforce the laws. Let’s take care of our own first.”
San Diego has been directly impacted by the immigration crisis over the last several weeks after hundreds of undocumented immigrant mothers and children were transferred to San Diego from Texas as part of the federal government’s plan to address the influx of immigrants illegally crossing the U.S. border.
The border crisis continues to divide the nation with people on both sides of the debate.
Patricia Peck who was visiting downtown San Diego Saturday said she supports undocumented immigrants crossing the border, especially if they’re mothers and children. However, Peck pointed out that immigration is a complex problem that can’t be easily resolved.
“This isn’t a real simple issue. You can’t blame the immigrant for thinking that America is the place to come. There’s not a simple answer. These people are scared, they’re hurting and they need to go somewhere,” said Peck.
“Yes, it’s tough for us because we have budget issues in the United States and I totally understand that. But if I was living in Honduras and worried about my kids [illegal immigration] might be something that I’d think about doing,” she added.
Across the U.S. on Saturday, at least 11 organizations opposed to illegal immigration planned to partake in what organizers called the “National Day of Protesting Against Immigration Reform, Amnesty and Border Surge.” The hundreds of nationwide protests were expected to last through Sunday.