News that another group of undocumented immigrants is scheduled to arrive in Southern California Friday brought out crowds of protesters and immigrant rights supporters outside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station in Murrieta overnight.
The undocumented families and minors from Central America will be flown to San Diego for processing as part of a federal government plan to address the nation's border crisis.
Border patrol agents set up cones and a stop sign along a road in the city of Murrieta, about 80 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, as a crowd of protesters camped out.
Many opponents of the transfer carried anti-immigration signs and American flags.
Protesters blocked buses that were supposed to arrive at a Murrieta facility on Tuesday, forcing federal authorities to send the passengers to smaller centers in Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Otay Mesa.
As of Friday morning, it remained unclear what time the immigrants would arrive. Protesters said they plan a repeat of Tuesday's events.
"When the buses come, you are going to see Americans that are willing to throw themselves under the bus, that's what you are going to see," demostrator Greg Allison said ahead of the migrants' arrival. "I don't care if I lose a limb. Even if the buses get past me and I lose a limb, guess what? The rest of the country is going to take notice."
Tim Donnelly said he was there in opposition. He's concerned the undocumented children will be released to coyotes and drug traffickers, with American authorities making the process easier.
"I have a huge concern over whether our government is being made complicit in completing the trafficking circle. We could have sworn law enforcement actually completing the work of the cartels and coyotes by handing children over to a trafficker," Donnelly told NBC 7.
“I believe our government is being used and everyone is overwhelmed,” he added.
Tess Stein also came out to protest the way the immigrants made their way into the U.S.
“I’m trying to make sense of what’s going on. I don’t understand where all these people are supposed to go. Why were they shipped here? It doesn’t make any sense. If someone wants to be in America, they should do it legally,” said Stein.
Orly Caitz agreed: “This nation is being flooded. This has to end.”
Among the protesters were pro-immigrant supporters, including one person holding a sign written in Spanish that read, "No tengan miedo," which translates to "don't be scared."
"I hope they know that there are people supporting them," demonstrator Briana Trejo said.
Another one of those supporters was Jasmine Vitele, who plans to volunteer as a translator for the immigrant women and children.
“I believe it’s important to be supporting the women and children coming on those buses that don’t have voices. They can’t speak for themselves,” said Vitele. “This isn’t a race issue. It’s about children and humanity.”
Gabriella Lopez felt the same way.
“We’re all immigrants. We’re all from different place – it’s what makes America what it is,” she added.
Despite the massive crowds on both sides of the debate, the Murrieta Police Department said they could not confirm whether additional busloads of immigrants would arrive in their community Friday.
In a media release, the department did say the U.S. Border Patrol had originally reported buses of undocumented immigrants could be transported to the Murrieta CBP station every third day beginning on July 1. The department said the Border Patrol would ultimately have the final say on whether or not to keep using the Murrieta station as a facility to process the immigrants from Central America.
The police department also noted that officers have been assigned outside the facility to “maintain the peace, order and safety of demonstrators.”
The department said officers arrested one protester Friday morning for disobeying an officer. He was booked and later released. Another five prostesters were arrested in Murrieta throughout the day during the demonstrations.
The undocumented families and children will be released from CBP to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials for additional processing.
The priority is to reunite the immigrants with families members currently in the U.S., officials said.
They will be given a scheduled date for an immigration hearing and will be expected to return.
Undocumented immigrants are typically released in anywhere from eight to 36 hours after detainment, officials said.