MURRIETA - A group of 140 Central American migrants who entered the United States illegally were flown from Texas to Lindbergh Field on Tuesday and then bused to a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, where crowds of angry protesters prompted authorities to take them instead to San Ysidro.
The drivers of the three Department of Homeland Security coaches backed away from the Riverside County USBP facility and got onto southbound Interstate 15 in the late afternoon, re-entering San Diego County about 3:30 p.m.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack declined to disclose where the migrants were being taken, but by late afternoon, the buses were seen pulling into a Customs and Border Protection facility in San Ysidro.
The departure of the migrants from the Riverside area marked a victory for the roughly two dozen protesters who had gathered to decry the foreigners' arrival there, many waving flags and others carrying signs reading "Stop Illegal Immigration" and "Return to Sender."
A small band of immigrant supporters also made a showing outside the Murrieta facility, but their shouts were largely drowned out by the opposing camp.
The group of migrants had flown into San Diego aboard a chartered flight about noon.
The migrants are mostly "adults with children" and were among tens of thousands of citizens of Central American countries who have poured into the United States via Texas this year, according to ICE officials.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector has been overwhelmed by the arrivals, prompting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to seek other locations to send them until their cases can be assessed.
Protesters have forced buses to back up. Lots of arguments breaking out in the crowd. pic.twitter.com/eoVwgkWh0P— Matt Mendes (@10NewsMendes) July 1, 2014
President Obama in a news conference Monday called the spike in immigrants crossing into the U.S. through Texas a "humanitarian crisis" and asked for more than $2 billion to help with the situation. The president said he will go around Congress and shift resources to the border by the end of summer.