San Diego, CA, United States (4E) – Residents and activists in San Diego County on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of 140 undocumented immigrants who were turned away by protesters in Riverside County on Tuesday.
About 150 local children, clergy, lawyers and other community members joined the Border Angels members in welcoming the immigrants, who arrived in three buses at the Chula Vista Border Patrol facility around 3:30 p.m. The immigrants were greeted with placards that said “This land is your land,” “Compassion,” and “Welcome.”
A news conference was also held in which Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson with Palomar Unitarian called for people to find compassion for the immigrant parents and children coming from Central America.
The 140 immigrants were brought to seven separate Border Patrol facilities in San Diego County for health screening and documentation, according to Gabe Pacheco, a union representative for Border Patrol agents. Some sick immigrants were taken to San Ysidro for medical quarantine and to the Rady Children’s Hospital.
Thousands more immigrants are expected to arrive in San Diego County over the next several weeks so the Border Angels is collecting donations of food, clothing, toys and other supplies for new arrivals.
Once processed, the immigrants will be released to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement for supervision while awaiting deportation proceedings, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the buses carrying the 140 immigrants were stopped by protesters at the Murrieta border patrol facility. The protesters waving American flags, chanting “U.S.A., U.S.A.” and holding up signs that read “return to sender,” “stop illegal immigration” and “support U.S. Border Patrol” did not want the immigrants to stay in the town.
Murrieta Mayor Alan Long instigated the blockade and protest accusing the federal government of passing burden to local communities. The protesters warned that they will block other buses carrying undocumented immigrants from entering Murietta.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Texas is filled with immigrant minors who were caught crossing the U.S. border from Mexico. Officials decided to transfer the minors to Border Patrol facilities in other states for humanitarian reasons.