A group of protesters staged a demonstration near a Border Patrol processing station in Murrieta, Riverside County, California on July 1 that resulted in three buses carrying 140 illegal immigrants being carried to the station to turn back. The aliens, many of whom were women and children from Central America, had illegally crossed the border into Texas recently and had surrendered to Border Patrol agents there. Instead of detaining the aliens and deporting them back to their homelands, the Department of Homeland Security — following current standard procedure — flew them on a U.S. government charter flight to San Diego.
The immigrants were en route to the Murrieta Border Patrol station, 65 miles north of San Diego, to be processed for “supervised release” pending appearances in immigration court. When some local residents learned about the aliens’ arrival, they staged the protest. The Los Angeles Times reported that about 100 to 150 people met the buses a few blocks away from the station, chanting, “Go home” and “We want to be safe.” Others shouted “USA!” “Impeach Obama!” and “Deport! Deport!” About 50 protesters held up signs along Murrieta’s Madison Avenue — where the station is located — while another 100 supporters of the aliens staged a counter protest across the street. As the two groups shouted at each other, police formed a cordon separating them in the middle of the street.
ABC Channel 10 News in San Diego reported that after turning away from the Murrieta station the buses were diverted to another Customs and Border Protection facility in San Ysidro, located on the border just north of Tijuana, Mexico.
Channel 10 News also noted that those voicing opposition to having the illegal immigrants come to Murrieta told reporters that they were not against immigrants coming to the United States, provided they followed our immigrations laws.
“Everybody that wants to come to this nation is entitled to, but they should come the right way,” said Bob Cuccio.
“You bring in all these children and they’re going to take over our schools. What’s going to happen to the kids that were born and raised here?” asked another resident, Bel Reeves.
Channel 10 News also interviewed a woman who was attending Murrieta’s Tuesday night city council meeting. The woman displayed obvious emotion as she addressed the council: “I feel like we’re being destroyed because of the administration and what [President Obama is] doing,” the woman said. “I feel for these children. I believe they’re being used and abused by our government and theirs.”
However, one of the aliens who spoke to the station could not understand why residents objected to their illegal entry and obviously felt a sense of entitlement to come to America. “They’re trying to kick us out for no reason,” said Sonia Nolasco. “They’re trying to say we’re trying to take over their city and their town and this and that and it’s not true.”
The Times quoted Murrieta Mayor Alan Long, who defended the right of residents to engage in peaceful, non-violent protests. “The people who live here are passionate about their community, and that’s what you’re seeing outside today,” said Long. “This is a failure to enforce federal law at the federal level. Murrieta continues to object to the transfer of illegal immigrants to the local Border Patrol office.”
Speaking at the city council meeting, Long also expressed sympathy for the immigrants, while not excusing their illegal migration. “Please remember these are human beings that are fleeing the violence in their home countries,” said Long. “The problem is that they need to come into this country the legal way.”
CNN quoted a statement from Ron Zermeno of the National Border Patrol Council, who said that merely processing illegal immigrants, rather than enforcing the borders, is only making the illegal immigration problem worse.
Zermeno pointed to the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions at the temporary detention facilities: “My concern is they are going to be eating in the same holding cells as someone sitting 5 feet away using the bathroom.”
As we have reported previously, the Obama administration estimates that 60,000 children unaccompanied by parents or relatives will pour into the United States this year, up from about 6,000 in 2011.
Several Republican members of Congress have placed the blame for the illegal immigration crisis squarely on the Obama administration’s border enforcement policies. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) posted the following statement on his Senate webpage on June 3:
The rising crisis at the border is the direct and predictable result of actions taken by President Obama. He and his Administration have announced to the world that they will not enforce America’s immigration laws, and have emphasized in particular that foreign youth will be exempted from these laws. The world has heard the President’s call, and illegal immigrants are pouring across the border in pursuit of his promised amnesty. President Obama is responsible for this calamity, and only by declaring to the world that our border is no longer open — and that the law will be restored — can this emergency be stopped.
However, during a June 30 Rose Garden press briefing, Obama turned the tables and attempted to blame the Republican leadership in the House for not bringing the Senate-passed, “Gang of Eight” immigration bill up for a vote.
“The failure of House Republicans to pass a darn bill is bad for our security, is bad for our economy, is bad for our future,” Obama said. “America cannot wait forever for them to act.”
Obama said that if the House does not pass the “immigration reform” legislation he advocates, he would begin “a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.” By “without Congress,” Obama meant issuing executive orders to implement steps he deems advisable.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in response to Obama’s statement: “It is sad and disappointing that — faced with this challenge — President Obama won’t work with us, but is instead intent on going it alone with executive orders that can't and won’t fix these problems.”
Obama praised the passage of the Gang of Eight bill, stating at the time: “Today, with a strong bipartisan vote, the United States Senate delivered for the American people, bringing us a critical step closer to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all.”
However, the bill was criticized by several conservative Republican senators, including Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Ted Cruz. (Texas). “In my view we need to secure the borders, we need to stop illegal immigration,” Cruz said during a Bloomberg News breakfast. “And we need to improve and streamline legal immigration.”
Sessions blasted his Republican colleagues in the House for crafting an immigration plan based on the Senate bill that he denounced as “amnesty.” “I think it would be a mistake if House Republicans were to support amnesty for those here illegally,” he said.
Neither the passage of the Gang of Eight bill nor a new executive order from President Obama is necessary to stem the massive flow of illegal immigrants across our borders. Illegal border crossing can be stopped by devoting sufficient resources to securing the border, as well as enforcing our existing immigration laws by arresting and deporting those who manage to evade apprehension at the border. An additional step would be to eliminate all government programs that entice illegal immigrants to cross our borders, including housing, medical care, and educational programs.
Photo of Department of Homeland Security bus transporting illegal immigrants in California: AP Images