When American flag-waving protesters forced busloads of migrants to leave Murrieta earlier this week, the Southern California city became the latest flashpoint in an intensifying immigration debate that could heat up even more as patriotism surges on the Fourth of July.
The city’s mayor has become a hero to those seeking stronger immigration policies with his criticism of the federal government’s efforts to handle the thousands of immigrants, many of them mothers and children, who have flooded the Texas border.
Some of those immigrants were flown to California and were supposed to be processed at a Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, a fast-growing community in the conservative-leaning Inland Empire region. But protesters blocked the road, forcing federal officials to take the immigrants elsewhere.
A second protest is planned for today, when another convoy of buses with immigrants is rumored to arrive.
“We’ve had it,” said Carol Schlaepfer, a retired Pomona resident who protested Tuesday in Murrieta. “We all want a better life. ... You can’t come to our country and expect American citizens to dole out what you need, from grade school till death.”
People on both sides of the issue want immigration reform, but immigrant-rights advocates say anti-illegal immigration demonstrators chastise the mostly women and children crossing the border.