Murrieta prepares for arrival of undocumented immigrants
Fleeing from poverty, drugs, violence and gang members, immigrant families are seeking a new life in the United States, but not everyone is welcoming them with open arms. After traveling from Central America to Texas, the next stop for these children is San Diego and then Murietta, California.
“They will be bused up to the Murrieta station for processing,” said one city official.
Officials in the Riverside County community north of San Diego learned just days ago that the first group of immigrants will start arriving this week.
“We process them within 48 hours, they leave and a new group comes in,” explained City Councilmember Rick Gibbs.
An estimated 140 families – including children and babies – will be housed here at the Border Patrol offices in Murietta, with the jail cells being turned into a makeshift shelter.
“These are very large jail holding cells, in general holding between 40 to 30 people each.”
The migrants will have undergone a medical screening and criminal background checks before entering the facility. City Councilmember Rick Gibbs says the accommodations are going to be Spartan.
“It will be laying down on a concrete floor to sleep on top of a blanket. The food they will be served – 3 meals a day – I would call the Border Patrol equivalent of the military’s meals ready-to-eat.”
After they are processed in Murietta, some immigrants could be sent back to Central America; others with relatives in the U.S. will be escorted to bus and rail stations or airports.
“This very small number of people who really don’t have somewhere to go, there’s some faith-based groups that are going to help with them and help them relocate them until they have to come back and report for their hearing,” said Assistant City Manager Kim Summers.
Although their stay in Murietta is only supposed to be short-term, the transfer of these immigrants is said to be more open-ended. Murietta officials say they’ve been told this could last indefinitely.
“I’d like to know, sir, do we have a plan? And I’d like to know what that plan is,” demanding one Murrieta resident.
Some Murietta residents are already raising concerns over public health and safety. The mayor of the city says he’s not pleased about hosting these unexpected guests.
“I’m sorry, I don’t feel that our officials – and I apologize to everybody – are being very honest,” spouted another resident, outraged.
“These folks will never see the light of day in the city of Murrieta by themselves,” continued Gibbs. “They will be incarcerated from the time that they get off that airplane in San Diego, to the time that they’re dropped off at a bus station in a very large city.”
The undocumented immigrants will be flown into San Diego and transported to Murrieta.