Rumors had swirled among anti-immigration activists near a U.S. Border Patrol station in Southern California that the agency would try again to bus in some of the immigrants who have flooded across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Instead, they got dueling anti- and pro-immigration rallies Friday.
The crowd of 200 outside the station in Murrieta waved signs and sometimes shouted at each other. One banner read: “Proud LEGAL American. It doesn’t work any other way.” Another countered: “Against illegal immigration? Great! Go back to Europe!”
Protesters chanted, “USA! USA!”
Counterprotesters chanted, “La raza unida jamas seran vencida,” which translates as “The (Latino) race united will never be defeated.”…
Both sides waved American flags, but one demonstrator held a shredded U.S. flag, angering an adversary who yelled: “Absolute disgrace!”…
On Tuesday, the federal government began busing 140 migrants for processing in Murrieta every 72 hours, raising concerns about operational capacity, Long said. The initial federal plan called for 500 people, which was lowered to 300, but the city strongly opposed those plans.
“The concern we have is the sustainability of 140 every 72 hours,” Long said. “We don’t see this stopping any time soon.”
Dozens of pro-immigrant residents wearing Mexican soccer jerseys also showed up at the meeting on Wednesday, but mostly sat in silence. Many more waited outside, having arrived too late to be let into the auditorium, which quickly filled to capacity. They held up signs proclaiming, “We are not illegal, we are humans,” as they faced opposing signs that read, “Bus them to the White House.”
In California, where Latinos are now the state’s largest ethnic group and much of the anti-immigrant sentiment of the 1990s has mostly faded away, many residents here say they have been stunned by their neighbors’ reactions.
“We came here because they are attacking our people, people just like us,” said Ana Larios, 42, a Mexican immigrant who moved to Murrieta with her children from Los Angeles nearly a decade ago. “I never knew people felt this way until now. It’s shocking and embarrassing.”
“When the buses come, you are going to see Americans that are willing to throw themselves under the bus, that’s what you are going to see,” demostrator Greg Allison said ahead of the migrants’ arrival. “I don’t care if I lose a limb. Even if the buses get past me and I lose a limb, guess what? The rest of the country is going to take notice.”
Tim Donnelly said he was there in opposition. He’s concerned the undocumented children will be released to coyotes and drug traffickers, with American authorities making the process easier.
“I have a huge concern over whether our government is being made complicit in completing the trafficking circle. We could have sworn law enforcement actually completing the work of the cartels and coyotes by handing children over to a trafficker,” Donnelly told NBC 7.
“I believe our government is being used and everyone is overwhelmed,” he added.
The vast majority of 50,000 unaccompanied youths and children who have illegally crossed the Texas border during the last few months have been successfully delivered by federal agencies to their relatives living in the United States, according to a New York Times article…
The Central American parents of the 50,000 youths and children are using a 2008 law to ensure their children are transported to them for free by a relay of border patrol and Department of Health and Human Services officials. The youths are delivered to the border patrol by smugglers, dubbed coyotes, in exchange for several thousand dollars.
Half of the 50,000 Central American youths were delivered by taxpayer-funded employees directly to their parents now living in the United States, and another third were delivered to people who said they were close relatives, said the July 3 article…
Top immigration officials choose to not check if the relatives or parents who pick up the children are in the country legally.
Immigrant-rights activists have set up water stations, gone out nearly daily to find border crossers in distress, and circulated warning posters and maps of the locations of those who have died in the desert…
Now Robin Hoover, founder and former member of the local group Humane Borders, is planning to distribute 100 high-intensity flashlights.
Hoover will work today with a local church in Altar, Sonora, 115 miles southwest of Tucson and one of the last staging areas for would-be border crossers, to pass out the $8.32 flashlights that can illuminate a tree a half-mile away and include both a strobe and an S.O.S. function.
“I hope that this simple device will help save lives,” he said Thursday during a news conference at El Tiradito Shrine in downtown Tucson, as he held the small black flashlight under a plastic water bottle to show how it created a prismatic effect.
There is nothing more un-American than showing not even one shred of sympathy, compassion, or even decency towards a group of desperate young children who showed up on our doorstep after having spent weeks on a treacherous journey. There is nothing more un-American than deliberately frightening an already traumatized group of kids, some still in diapers. There is nothing more un-American than a mob taking the law into their own hands and preventing authorities from doing the work of processing these refugees. What we saw was not patriotism — it was ugly, divisive, and yet another low for a debate that I thought could not get much lower.
But I reserved my greatest scorn for the Mayor of Murrieta, Alan Long. It was he who incited his constituents to protest and let law enforcement look the other way. It was he who recklessly demagogued the issue to spare himself a political problem and is now crying crocodile tears about the “black eye” media coverage he has given his town. He took an epic, immensely complicated humanitarian situation that involves broken policymaking both in Central America and in the U.S. and pointed the finger of blame at a bus full of little kids and babies.
What is so craven about Long’s “blame-the-victim” strategy is that he and the anti-immigrant extremists he unleashed not only blocked a couple of buses, they continue to block every single attempt at a humane and effective solution by reasonable policymakers on both sides of the aisle. Egged on by shameless demagogues like Long at the local level and lawmakers like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) at the national level, the small but loud anti-immigrant movement like the one on display in Murrieta is the single biggest reason we do not yet have comprehensive immigration reform.
Obama told the groups what they had been dying to hear—that he was going to condemn House Republicans for inaction and set the most expansive legal course permissible to beef up border security, slow deportations of noncriminal aliens, and provide legal status to millions of undocumented workers—all by himself…
Obama made it clear he would press his executive powers to the limit. He gave quiet credence to recommendations from La Raza and other immigration groups that between 5 million to 6 million adult illegal immigrants could be spared deportation under a similar form of deferred adjudication he ordered for the so-called Dreamers in June 2012.
That executive action essentially lifted the threat of prosecution and deportation for about 670,000 undocumented residents—those older than 15 and younger than 31 who had been brought to America before their 16th birthday.
Obama has now ordered the Homeland Security and Justice departments to find executive authorities that could enlarge that non-prosecutorial umbrella by a factor of 10.
Democratic campaign operatives have been busy adapting their modern get-out-the-vote technologies and field operations to replicate their 2012 success and boost turnout among unlikely voters in 2014. Issenberg sums up the challenge: “While Latinos’ total presidential votes tripled from 1988 to 2012, their midterm participation has declined by about seven points.” That may be changing, and Democrats toiling in the House campaign trenches may now have the infrastructure necessary to really turn out the midterm vote…
In other words, the House Democratic campaign strategy and the Senate Democratic campaign strategy may run along separate tracks, one driving immigration, the other pushing the economy. One strategy could work while the other flops. That creates the possibility, however unlikely, for something completely unprecedented: a midterm election where Democrats and Republicans trade control of each congressional branch.