EL CENTRO, Calif. (AP) — An overflow crowd in a Southern California community where protesters turned back Homeland Security busloads of immigrants gave a harsh reception to federal officials behind the decision to bring them to Murrieta in the first place.
The Wednesday night special meeting in Murrieta was called a day after the U.S. flag-waving protesters forced border officials to reroute the Central American immigrant families and children that had been sent from Texas.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that Chief Border Patrol Agent Paul Beeson took responsibility for sending the immigrants to Murrieta, bringing jeers and chants of "send them back" from the crowd.
Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, was wildly cheered after calling for secure borders and denouncing what he called the "exploitation" of traumatized women and children brought to the city Tuesday.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
A flight shuttling Central American immigrant children and families from the Texas border arrived Wednesday in Southern California without trouble, a day after flag-waving protesters blocked another group in buses from entering a suburban border patrol facility.
The latest arrivals included roughly 140 immigrants who were taken to a facility in El Centro for processing, said Lombardo Amaya, president of the local union of border patrol agents.
Rep. Juan Vargas, a California Democrat, traveled to meet with the group that was flown to the state to ease overcrowding in the Rio Grande Valley as thousands of people seek entry to the United States after fleeing violence and extortion by gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The scene was markedly different from the one that unfolded Tuesday in Murrieta, where American-flag waving protesters forced the rerouting of Homeland Security buses to a different facility.
Murrieta officials have voiced opposition to the transfers. However, some community advocates were collecting clothing, food and donations to assist the immigrants.
More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained after crossing the Texas-Mexico border since October in what President Barack Obama has called a humanitarian crisis. Many are under the impression that they will receive leniency from U.S. authorities.
U.S. officials are planning to fly immigrants to other cities in Texas and California to ease the crunch. After they are processed, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will decide who can be released while awaiting deportation proceedings.
In the area surrounding Murrieta, community groups are forming transitional centers to help those released contact family and travel to reunite with them elsewhere in the country, said Jennaya Dunlap, an immigrant advocate.