Protesters in San Diego blocked three buses carrying migrant children and families from Central America, forcing the group to be rerouted away from a suburban processing center.
The approximately 140 immigrants were detainees who had been flown by the Department of Homeland Security from overcrowded Texas facilities into San Diego, and had been scheduled to move to Border Patrol stations in the region, the Associated Press reports.
But protesters in Murrieta, a small city an hour north of San Diego stopped them, shouting “U.S.A.” and “Go home.”
Tens of thousands of migrants fleeing violence and extortion from gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have attempted to cross the Mexican border into Texas in recent months, triggering what President Barack Obama has called a “humanitarian crisis.” More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained since Oct. 2013, a huge rise from previous years.
The standoff in the San Diego area came after Alan Long, the mayor of Murrieta, urged residents to voice their displeasure to elected officials about the transfer of migrants to California from Texas. Residents emerged in force, carrying signs that said “Illegals out.”
The migrants, blocked from their original destination, were turned over to a border facility in San Diego within view of the Mexican border instead after officials rerouted the vehicles to a freeway.