Buses carrying migrant families were rerouted to a U.S.-Mexican border station after being blocked by protesters waving American flags in a suburban Southern California city Tuesday.
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 suburban border patrol station in Murrieta.
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Demonstrators got in the faces of counter demonstrators in the middle of the roadway. There was some pushing and shoving, but there were no arrests.
The buses were coming to Murrieta to drop off 140 undocumented immigrants, who illegally crossed into the United States through Texas.
They are the first wave of migrants who are supposed to be processed at that location, before being released to to family or friends until they are called into immigration court.
Protesters say they believe the release will lead to more crime and homelessness.
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That's because agents can only search criminal histories in the U.S. not other countries.
"Nothing is going to stop them from turning around and walking across the street, or walking into the downtown area, or getting on a bus and going somewhere else," Mark Yarbrough, a Perris City councilman.
Enrique Morones, an immigrant rights activist, countered that these children are fleeing dangerous lives in Central America, "where if they don't leave, they die."
"So we need to live up to the great nation that we are," he said.
A Murietta town hall is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday and is expected to draw a large crowd.
After being blocked in Murrieta, the three buses turned around and headed south to the San Ysidro border station. Murrieta is about an hour north of San Diego.
"Unfortunately they can’t block they roadway. This time the border patrol decided to go ahead and turn the buses around. That may not happen in the future," Murietta Police Chief Sean Hadden said.
The move 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.
Another flight was expected to take 140 migrants to a facility in El Centro, California, on Wednesday, said Lombardo Amaya, president of the El Centro chapter of the Border Patrol union. The Border Patrol would not confirm that arrival date.
The federal government is also flying migrants to the Texas border cities of Laredo and El Paso and to Arizona for processing.