Hundreds of protestors from both sides of the immigration issue showed up in the sweltering heat outside the U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta on the Fourth of July.
The station located off Madison Ave. is a dusty road where bushes of chaparral grow wild and tumbleweeds roll. Instead of grilling, swimming or relaxing with friends on a national holiday hundreds of people with passionate views on immigration spent their afternoon waving flags and supporting their stance on migrants from Central America being bused into town.
Lines were literally drawn along the road with yellow caution tape and police lining down the middle. One side chanted, “USA! USA!” while the other side retorted with, “Racists! Racists!”
There were reports the trio of buses diverted away from Murrieta earlier in the week with 140 undocumented immigrants were expected to arrive back in town on Friday. Those detained who are mostly women and children are being brought to the Inland office for processing.
Border patrol agents plan to release them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who will let them reunite with their families across the United States until their legal status is determined. This process was explained by Chief Patrol Agent at U.S. Border Patrol Location Greater San Diego, Paul Beeson at a town hall meeting held in Murrieta on Wednesday, July 2.
The crowd on Friday drew people of all ages but the youth were not standing by silent.
“I feel like we are being intruded on, on our Independence Day,” 16-year old Michael Perez from Menifee said. “I love America and I am here today because I want to keep it safe and enforce the law.”
Paula Drummond, 19, from Murrieta said her family has been on both sides of the immigration fence.
Paula was born in the United States but her sister Mary was born in Mexico.
“My mom came from Mexico legally with my sister. I have family now struggling in Mexico but they are not trying to cross the borders illegally,” Drummond said.
Mary Drummond, 23, said that even though she was born in Mexico she wants the immigrants to support the law of the land in the United States of America.
Waving her American flag Mary Drummond said, “This is has nothing to do with racism. I am Mexican this isn’t about race.”
Dara Glanzer, 24, of Los Angeles said she was pro-immigrant. She attended the event because she saw the media coverage and did not like how the immigrants were being treated.
“I’m here because I saw there were a large number of protesters turning away buses with no intervention,” she said. “I’m here because that kind of impunity reminds me of the South during the civil rights era.”
Glanzer likened the buses full of immigrants to buses full of freedom fighters during the ’60s. She added that she thought the U.S. was responsible for destabilizing the countries the immigrants came from.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly from the 33rd District was at the protests on the Fourth of July to see it for himself.
“I am deeply frustrated with our federal policies,” Donnelley said. “We have a situation where many children are being handed over to people who may not be their true relatives. This is a government created humanitarian crisis.”
Donnelly said he is upset with California Governor Jerry Brown who at the time of the interview has not spoken on the migrant situation.
“The governor is not an intern. He has an obligation to the people of California. He has a responsibility to not allow our community to be put at risk,” he said.
Alex Groves contributed to this article.