Buses carrying migrant families that were turned around by protesters Tuesday in a Riverside County community were back on the road Wednesday morning after an overnight stay the U.S.-Mexican border station in San Ysidro.
An NBC4 news crew followed one bus as it departed, but officers blocked the entrance to the freeway. The three buses were carrying 140 undocumented immigrants, who illegally crossed into the United States through Texas.
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The immigrants were supposed to be processed at a border patrol station in Murrieta, but the buses turned around after hundreds of protestors blocked access and instead traveled south to the border station in San Ysidro, a district in the city of San Diego. The buses will travel Wednesday to four locations -- Otay Mesa, Imperial Beach, Boulevard and Chula Vista.
None of the families will return to Murrieta for processing, according to Ron Zermeno, Health and Safety director for the National Border Patrol. Ten detainees were taken to a hospital overnight, including three children. Details regarding their conditions were not immediately available.
The reception in San Ysidro marked a stark contrast to that in Murrieta earlier Tuesday. Activists chanted loudly outside the San Ysidro station Tuesday night to let the undocumented families know that there are some people in the United States who support them.
"As a country we’re better than that," one supporter said. "They’re people just like us and they deserve love."
Earlier that day in Murrieta, protesters yelling such phrases as "They're not born here!" and "Go back to Mexico!" stood in the street, blocking the buses access to the border patrol station there.
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“Unfortunately they can’t block they roadway. This time the border patrol decided to go ahead and turn the buses around, that may not happen in the future," Murrieta Police Chief Sean Hadden said.
Another group of undocumented immigrants is expected to be transferred Friday to Murrieta from West Texas.
The buses were carrying the first wave of migrants who were supposed to be processed at the Murrieta location, before being released to family or friends until they are called into immigration court. The move by federal officials was designed to ease overcrowding at border facilities strained by an influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border. The federal government is also flying migrants to the Texas border cities of Laredo and El Paso and to Arizona for processing.
The transfer is a federal government decision, but Murrieta city officials have faced some of the backlash, which continued Wednesday with phone calls, emails and other correspondence.
Kim Summers, Murrieta's assistant city manager, said some of the callers have made threats.
"We've been getting calls from across the country, not necessarily here," said Summers. "Some of them not very nice, some of them threats. One of our secretaries picked up the phone and had an angry person saying they were going to kill her and her family."
The immigrant families were expected to undergo medical screenings and background checks at the San Ysidro station, where they were also being fed and allowed to shower. It is unclear whether they would be turned over to community groups to help them reconnect with their family members already in the United States.