Southern California Prepares for Influx of Undocumented Immigrants

Hundreds of undocumented persons were transported into Southern California Tuesday as part of a federal effort to deal with a recent wave of illegal immigration. 

The situation has overwhelmed authorities in Texas, which is bearing the brunt of the influx. Families and unaccompanied children, largely from Central America, have been arriving in the Rio Grande Valley at a rate of more than 35,000 a month, resulting in an all-out humanitarian crisis.   

“To be clear, we face an urgent situation in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Jonson. “Last fiscal year, [U.S. Customs and Border Control] apprehended more than 24,000 unaccompanied children at the border.  By mid-June of this fiscal year, that number has doubled to more than 52,000.”

With Texas shelters filled to capacity and personnel overwhelmed, federal authorities decided to move many of the immigrants to Border Patrol stations is in the Imperial Valley and San Diego for processing. 

“The movement will allow the U.S. Border Patrol in less congested areas to assist in processing family units from South Texas…” said Michael Friel, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

County officials in Riverside, Imperial, and San Diego said they were doing everything possible to prepare for the deluge, which Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone characterized as a virtual “FEMA- event”.  

Tuesday constituted the first wave of transportations. But many of the individuals never even reached their intended destinations. Three busses carrying 140 people turned back to San Diego County after encountering angry protesters at the Murrieta Border Control. Earlier that day, Murrieta Mayor Alan Long publicly objected to the transfers.

Another flight is expected to transport some 140 people to El Centro today.

Read more about the situation here.