More Central American migrants sent to California despite backlash
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Dozens more Central Americans caught sneaking into the United States were shipped quietly to California for processing by immigration officials on Wednesday, a day after protesters blocked bus loads of migrant families bound...
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Dozens more Central Americans caught sneaking into the United States were shipped quietly to California for processing by immigration officials on Wednesday, a day after protesters blocked bus loads of migrant families bound for a Border Patrol station north of San Diego.
Both groups of immigrant children and their parents are part of a wave of families and unaccompanied minors fleeing strife-torn Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras and streaming by the thousands over the U.S.-Mexico border via human smuggling rings.
Most have shown up in Texas, overwhelming detention and processing facilities there and leading U.S. immigration authorities to set up overflow sites in California and other states in the Southwest to help screen and manage the influx.
Immigration officials said most of the families headed for California were likely to be released under limited supervision to await deportation proceedings, many to be placed with relatives or friends in other cities or in temporary housing provided by charity groups.
Those arrangements sparked an outcry in Murrieta, California, north of San Diego, where an initial batch of immigrants was due to be processed at a Border Patrol station in town. The mayor, Alan Long, raised concerns about public safety and potential strains on local resources.
A first group of roughly 140 adults and children, all families, were flown from Texas to San Diego on Tuesday and then sent north to Murrieta in three buses.
But an angry crowd of about 150 protesters shouting, "Go home" and "We don't want you here," ignored police orders to disperse as they filled a street near the facility to block the caravan, forcing the buses to turn around.
The passengers ended up being bused to another Border Patrol station in San Diego for processing there.
MORE IMMIGRANT TRANSFERS
While Mayor Long said earlier he had been advised by U.S. officials to expect another group of about 140 immigrants every three days for several weeks, city officials said it remained unclear after Tuesday's confrontation whether plans would be altered.
On Wednesday, border protection officials confirmed that a separate group of undocumented families with children were sent to a processing center in El Centro, California, a desert community about 100 miles (160 km) east of San Diego.
Immigration authorities kept a tight lid on details of further transfers, citing security concerns. But sources familiar with the situation told Reuters the second group, which also numbered about 140, arrived in El Centro without incident.
"Out of an abundance of caution and in light of the incident yesterday, we're not providing any additional information about next steps or contingency plans," Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
She said immigration authorities were being especially careful to avoid disclosing the whereabouts of the detainees "so that mobs can't go down and root out those people."
Border Patrol spokesman Paul Carr said undocumented Central American families would continue to be sent to Southern California for processing. "I have not been told that there will be any deviation from the plan," he said.