Crowds force buses of immigrants away from Murrieta station

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About 140 undocumented immigrants were turned away in Murrieta Tuesday afternoon by crowds of people. (KABC)

About 140 undocumented immigrants arrived at the U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta Tuesday afternoon. They were blocked by crowds at the location, forcing buses full of families and children to be diverted to an undisclosed location.

The three Homeland Security buses that left Murrieta arrived at the San Ysidro Border Patrol facility at the US/Mexico border shortly after 4 p.m. One of the buses left San Ysidro around 12:30 a.m. to an unknown destination. Journalists were not allowed to follow the bus because Border Patrol agents blocked the freeway entrance.

The protesters are upset that 136 migrants - mainly families and children - were flown to San Diego from Texas on Tuesday.

Supporters of the undocumented immigrants were also on hand, with both sides yelling back and forth.

"It's sad that we can't all come together, and it's children. It's not their fault. Their parents sent them over here," said Delia Sanchez of Menifee.

U.S. authorities are trying to deal with tens of thousands of immigrants, many of them unescorted children, who since October have flooded across the U.S. border with Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley.

President Barack Obama has called it a humanitarian crisis.

Many area residents are angry that so many undocumented immigrants were to be processed at the city's facility, and could soon be released.

The city says that same number of immigrants could be brought in every three days for the next several weeks.

The problem stems from the massive number of people crossing the border illegally in Texas. Many of them are children. Because of that, officials with Border Patrol say they're overwhelmed. Consequently, many of them will have to be processed elsewhere, including in Murrieta.

"From what I understand, most of the immigrants coming to our location have family members or friends throughout the United States," said Murrieta Mayor Alan Long.

It is unclear what will happen to those who don't have friends and family to help them.

"Your guess is as good as mine," said Gabriel Pacheco, union leader for the National Border Patrol Council. "What would you do if you can't hold them in custody for that, so if you're going to release them on their own recognizance, that means they promise to come back for a court date, and then, who knows."

There's no shortage of people in Murrieta blaming the federal government for allowing this to happen.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement after the buses left the location on Tuesday: "U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) El Centro and San Diego Sectors began assisting Tuesday (July 1) with the processing of migrants apprehended in South Texas, many of whom are adults with children. Upon completion of CBP processing, CBP is transferring certain individuals to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), where appropriate custody determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis, prioritizing national security and public safety."

A town hall meeting was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Vista Murrieta High School.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
immigrationborder patrolMurrieta
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