California town braces for immigration protests

Officials in Murrieta, Calif., were bracing for another showdown Friday with protesters in anticipation of a second group of immigrants expected to arrive by bus for processing by the Border Patrol.

Already Friday morning, a large crowd of protesters had gathered at the Murrieta Border Patrol station, awaiting buses expected to bring 140 undocumented immigrants.

The crowd numbered about 120, about a third opposing illegal immigration and two thirds supporting immigrants. Shouting matches erupted but there has been no violence. Police were monitoring the scene.

Alberto Posadas showed up with his two young nephews and other family members to show his support for the undocumented immigrants.

"I'm here because I believe that we're a country based on laws," he said.

Posadas said it doesn't matter how the immigrants got here — the fact is they're here.

Meanwhile, Mike Silveira said he supports legal immigration but is worried about the undocumented immigrants that are coming into the country.

"I'm more worried about the people already here," he said. "I think we need to lock down our borders."

Silveira said his family immigrated legally from Portugal.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are transporting the immigrants to processing centers in California and elsewhere to ease overcrowded facilities in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, which has seen an unprecedented spike in illegal crossings since October.

On Tuesday, protesters in Murrieta blocked part of the first group of families to arrive. The bus, carrying about 140 migrants, had to be detoured to an undisclosed location in San Diego.

Opponents of the transfer say they're afraid the influx of immigrants will drain local health, housing and medical resources and services.

A second group of immigrants was transferred without incident to the Border Patrol station in El Centro on Wednesday.

Since October, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas has seen an unprecedented influx of unaccompanied children from Central America — mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — illegally cross into the U.S. Many are fleeing violence and extortion from gangs in their homelands.

An estimated 52,193 unaccompanied children younger than 18 years old have been caught, overwhelming border facilities in Texas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The U.S. government is also planning to fly migrants to Texas cities, and it has already taken some migrants to Arizona.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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