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Sat, 05 Jul 2014 17:18:49 +0000
(MURRIETA, Calif.) -- There was a different sort of fireworks Friday in Murrieta, California, as residents clashed over whether to support U.S. efforts to process Central American immigrants in their town.
This week, protesters in the wealthy community that’s 90 miles from the border blocked a convoy of buses carrying undocumented immigrants, forcing federal authorities to reroute the buses to a facility in San Diego.
“We would have 500 immigrants potentially on the streets of Murrieta, which we don’t have the resources to handle,” Mayor Alan Long said earlier this week.
The protesters hoped to do so again Friday but this time, the buses did not come — and they were instead met with backlash from residents sympathetic to the immigrants’ plight.
“I’m here to support the children,” one woman said. “They came a really long way and all of this hatred is directed their way. [It's] not their fault.”
The immigrants had been sent to Murrieta because Border Patrol facilities in south Texas were jammed.
Town officials earlier said they feared that Border Patrol would hold the immigrants only long enough to process them and then release them at local bus stations.
But during a fiery town hall meeting Thursday, other Murrieta residents loudly objected to their community being dragged into the border debate.
“People probably believe this is a xenophobic, racist group of folks here in this city,” said city councilman Rick Gibbs.
At a ceremony for new citizens in Washington, D.C., on Friday, President Obama made no mention of the anger across the Southwest.
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