The immigration situation is getting ugly.
Three busloads of immigrant children — many who were fled gang violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — met a human blockade on Tuesday afternoon in California. Many were accompanied by parents.
In downtown Murrieta, about 70 miles north of San Diego, hundreds of protesters shut off access to a nearby Border Patrol station in Riverside County, waiving American flags, shouting “go home” and holding signs that read “stop illegal immigration” and “illegals out.”
Some 140 immigrant children and families had been flown from crowded facilities in Texas and were set to be transported to other Border Patrol stations.
The standoff proved too much for police. Federal authorities were forced to reroute the immigrants away from Murrieta and to a customs and border facility in San Diego within view of the border, the Associated Press stated.
The immigrants were supposed to be processed at the Murrieta facility and then turned over to ICE agents who would make sure they were united with family throughout the country.
“We’re not equipped to handle people long-term — we never tried to be,” Christopher Harris, vice president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, told the Desert Sun. “Most of our agents are really good people. … The morale is so low because they’re worried about dropping off people into these communities.”
The scene was chaos, according to local reports, as protesters clashed with immigration reform supporters and immigrants, some of whom shouted back retorts such as “We are your babysitters, we clean your hotels, we babysit your kids” and “Our people cook your food.”
The protest came after Mayor Alan Long urged locals to fight immigration transfers. He said immigrants were scheduled to arrive every few days for several weeks.