Protesters block buses carrying undocumented immigrants in California

A wall of angry protesters blocked three buses of undocumented immigrants in Southern California, forcing them to turn around -- but with no clear final destination.

A wall of angry protesters blocked three buses of undocumented immigrants in Southern California, forcing them to turn around -- but with no clear final destination.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A wall of angry protesters blocked three buses of undocumented immigrants in Southern California, forcing them to turn around — but with no clear final destination.

The immigrants had traveled from South Texas to San Diego and were on their way to be processed at the Murrieta Border Patrol station when the standoff took place Tuesday.

Protesters chanting “USA!” “Impeach Obama!” and “Deport! Deport!” blocked their route. A heated yelling match ensued between the demonstrators and a group of counterprotesters.

After the buses turned around, the 140 people on board were taken to a border station in San Ysidro, said Ron Zermeno of the National Border Patrol Council.

On Wednesday, Zermeno told CNN that at least 136 immigrants were fed and screened at the Murrieta facility. Ten children among the group were taken to local hospitals, though it’s unclear why. Seven children were diagnosed with active scabies, an itchy and highly contagious skin disease. Those children are being kept separate from the others at the San Ysidro station, he said.

An additional 17 immigrants were taken to the Boulevard station in eastern San Diego County, Zermeno told CNN.

Border Patrol officials told CNN affiliate KGTV several children were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego with unknown illnesses.

Enormous challenge

The U.S. government is struggling to process and accommodate an influx of undocumented immigrants, and specifically a spike in immigrant children. The government doesn’t have enough beds, food or sanitary facilities.

Authorities estimate 60,000 to 80,000 children without parents will cross the border this year in what the White House has called an “immediate humanitarian crisis.”

To help relieve crowded facilities in Texas, undocumented immigrants are now being sent elsewhere to be processed.

But Zermeno said processing immigrants, rather than enforcing the borders, is only making the situation worse.

“My concern is they are going to be eating in the same holding cells as someone sitting 5 feet away using the bathroom,” he said.

Murrieta Police Chief Sean Hadden said he was told to expect 140 immigrants every 72 hours, with the next group scheduled to arrive on Friday, the Fourth of July. He encouraged the public to attend a town hall meeting Wednesday evening.

Intense debate

The furor in Murrieta illustrated the conflict between protecting the borders and the safety of immigrant families and children.

“If these children were from Canada, we would not be having this interview,” immigration rights advocate Enrique Morones told CNN.

“The parents have had enough. They are saying, ‘If I don’t send my child north, they are going to die.'”

The mayor of Murrieta, Alan Long, had urged residents Monday to protest the decision to move undocumented immigrants to the area, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He spoke again Tuesday at a Murrieta City Council meeting, thanking police and others.

“Please remember these are human beings that are fleeing the violence in their home countries,” Long said. “The problem is that they need to come into this country the legal way.”

Protester Ellen Meeks said the country’s identity has eroded with an influx of undocumented immigrants.

“I just wish America would be America again because it’s not, and it’s not just pointed to the Hispanics,” Meeks said. “Everybody needs to go through the legal ways.”

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Filed in: News

16 comments

  • seriously?

    Good for the protesters!!! If we would prevent these freeloaders from coming here in the first place, the challenge wouldn’t be so enormous.

  • Queenbee

    I am shocked and appalled by the heartless people in our country. Might as well tear down the statue of liberty right now.

    • stantheman

      Who is going to pay for all these people? We need to close the borders and figure out what to do with the 11 million already here. What about laws already in place? Turn the buses around and send them packing.

      • Naah

        11 million. Out of ~300,000,000. ….a small minority of the american people. Lets focus on that instead of the healthcare debacle, the grotesque obesity epidemic, or the countless other issues with this country. Blind idiotic nationalism. Don’t get me wrong, illegal is illegal is illegal, but you really can’t scapegoat them for the downfall of this great nation.

    • Mark

      Are you serious ? We can even afford to feed our own homeless . Take care of our own Parent less children , and take care of our millions of veterans . Yet you have sympathy for a bunch of people that are committing a crime by trespassing illegally on our soil ? All the while carrying diseases and viruses , some that are highly contagious . I have no problem helping people that need help but our own should come first ! Help the kids and send the rest packing back to Mexico !!

    • sinner 3

      Hey queenbee take your asse down to Mexico and tell them you want free food medical and housing and throw in some cash and free phone as well ! Then see what Mexico will do for you ?

    • seriously?

      Yeah QueenBee, what they said! You are seriously delusional to equate the meaning of the statue of liberty with diseased undocumented immigrants entering this country illegally. If this country would spend half of what they spend dealing with these people on proper border control, there might not be a crisis.

  • sinner 3

    This is a mass invasion from all Latino countries south of Mexico but after seeing how the Mexican illegal/invaders have faired here from taxpayer money they will continue to drag this country down to third world status and very quickly !

  • jen

    Hell with America and its presidents. A mexican that committed acrime to get here has more if a chance of survival in this country than a felon who is a citizen. Shit wish i could get the help they get. Send them all to live with there president that once was accused of being an “immigrant”. His name tell it all.

  • jennifer

    Dear Jen ‘THE CRYING FELON” your ignorance (hence your struggles show in your writing LOL!!!!! educate yourself and see what happens..

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