Mayor Alan Long was presented with a petition bearing over 40,000 signatures during the regular Murrieta City Council Meeting on August 19. The petition pledged support in Long’s handling of the immigration issues faced by the city in early July when three buses carrying nearly 150 undocumented immigrants were forced to turn around rather than drop the group for processing at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station.
Long, who is a supporter of immigration reform, made the national news for his comments and tough stance on the immigration issue when it landed on the city’s doorstep early last month.
As previously reported, Long had been criticized for his handling of the situation by many who believed his comments incited the protests which caused the buses to turn around. An online petition started by Murrieta resident Nancy Brenner called on the city council to censure Long for violating its Code of Conduct Policies.
Since the petition was launched on July 9, more than 1,700 people had signed their name to it. According to Long, he has since met with Brenner who he said has changed her stance on the issue. Brenner was unable to be reached prior to press time.
Presented by Lisa Vinton, the new petition pledged support to what was referred to as Long’s “leadership and patriotism” to stand up against the federal government regarding the immigration issue.
“I have been a Murrieta resident for over ten years,” Vinson said. “As a representative of Operation Stand United I am here to deliver more than 40,000 signed petitions in support of the leadership of Mayor Alan Long.”
Vinson pointed out that many people weren’t aware there was a border patrol station in town until the federal government announced its plan to bring hundreds of undocumented immigrants to Murrieta for processing.
“We also learned this facility was designed to process drug traffickers and was definitely ill equipped to humanely handle the influx of several hundred women and children,” she said. “Many of the city’s residents had concerns and unanswered questions about the illegal immigrants being brought to and processed in Murrieta.”
Vinton said many Murrieta residents, along with others throughout the nation, are “fed up” with the federal government’s handling of the issue. She went on to say that the current immigration policy is unfair for everyone involved, causing a humanitarian crisis for both citizens of the United States and immigrants, by not providing the necessary resources to handle the influx of immigrants.
“They refuse to come up with a solution, issuing only temporary band aids that will cost billions of dollars and only make the problem worse,” Vinton said. “Our nation can do better but it will take courageous leaders that are willing to take a stand.”
Vinton said the protests in July were never about race, but rather securing the nation’s borders by enforcing current laws.
“It is about anti-illegal immigration and following the rule of law,” said the 2008 Murrieta Citizen of the Year. “These laws make sure our community and our country are safe and secure for those who live here as well as those who want to come here.”
During her nearly six minute speech, Vinton said that those who came to town in protest of the federal government’s plan attempted to turn the issue into something that fit into their own personal agendas.
“It is also unfortunate that many from outside of Murrieta came and displayed behavior that is contrary to what we in Murrieta stand for,” she said. “Like you, Mayor Long, we do not support the disgraceful behavior that outsiders displayed on the protest line. We only want to be heard and be able to speak freely and be able to exercise our Constitutional rights peacefully.”
Vinton said that while many politicians run from the immigration issue, Long showed courage and leadership by calling out the deficiencies of the federal government and supporting the right to be heard as citizens of the United States.
“We’re proud to have leadership in our community that is not afraid and is instead willing to stand up for our community and our nation,” she said. “Mayor Long, you supported us in the shot heard around the world. Today we support you as a courageous and exemplary leader.”
Long said while the board couldn’t act on anything he was “deeply touched” and appreciated the accolades given him by the group.