As some Murrieta residents are coming out of the Murrieta Mesa High School auditorium - packed to the brim with people - some of the pro-immigration folks are kind of challenging and taunting with an American flag the attendees that are there to protest the 140 illegal migrants that tried to be processed in Murrieta Tuesday, ultimately ending up in the Border Patrol Station in San Ysidro due to the Murrieta protest. Meantime, another headline is evolving Wednesday night: Murrieta, population 100,000, taking on the federal government.
"Do you have a handle - a real handle - on what this is costing us out of our pockets and please, use the word 'illegal aliens'. They came across here illegally," declared one outraged Murrieta citizen, amid applause and cheers.
Anger in Murrieta, as concerned residents pack a high school gymnasium to talk about two things: what happened Tuesday, when protesters prevented three busloads of illegal immigrants from being screened at a local Border Patrol checkpoint, and what the future holds.
"As of right now, is there another bus coming to our city? And where can I be to protest that bus from coming here?" Asked another citizen of Murrieta.
But this is a story that is fast becoming the tale of the little city that could. Little Murrieta, California - taking on the federal government and bringing to light what many say at the meeting is a broken federal immigration system.
"Here in Murrieta, we now find ourselves in the situation not because we do not have comprehensive immigration forum, but rather because we have a lack of political will to protect our borders," stated Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone.
At times during the meeting, people take out their angry on federal authorities who seem handcuffed by current federal immigration policy.
"We took four children to the hospital," said Paul Beeson, Border Patrol Chief of the San Diego sector. "Two of them had fevers, two of them had scabies."
But not all those at the meeting approve of Tuesday's protest.
"I will never support someone's right to confront children. That's shameful, that's uncalled for," said resident Paula Heady.
Meantime, there is a thick overflow crowd consisting of people that couldn't fit into the high school auditorium for the town meeting, estimated in the hundreds, who held their own little rally outside. Sheriff's deputies were outside the meeting trying to restrain a pro-immigration assembly from heckling meeting attendees as they depart. The big question remains: will another busload of immigrants arrive to Murrieta this Friday? Beeson would not give a clear answer on the topic during the meeting.
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