Harnessing the power of homemade signs and bulging neck veins, a rowdy group of protesters prevented three busloads of immigrant detainees from reaching a Border Patrol processing station in Riverside County, California, yesterday. The buses were carrying about 140 Central American immigrants, who were flown to San Diego after crossing the border in Texas. With protesters literally taking to the streets, the buses were forced to turn around and drive back to San Diego.
With their chants of “Go home,” “We want to be safe,” “Deport! Deport!” and “Impeach Obama,” the crowd of 150 or so registered their disapproval of a plan to release the immigrants in Riverside County. They were to be processed and given a date to appear in immigration court before being released to a religious organization. In a city council meeting later in the day, local Murrieta, California, Mayor Alan Long praised the protesters for being “passionate about their community.”
The planned release of the 140 immigrants in Riverside County is part of a larger effort by the federal government to deal with an influx of children crossing the border without parents. By one estimate, 60,000 to 80,000 children will cross alone this year. Given the overwhelming numbers in Texas, immigration officials are lightening the load by sending people to less burdened border processing facilities across the Southwest.