Murrieta City Councilman: Possible Transfer of Illegal Aliens Still ‘A Bad Situation’
(CNSNews.com) -- According to Murrieta City Councilman Gene Wunderlich, the unrelenting push by the federal government to transfer hundreds of illegal aliens to the San Diego suburb's local border patrol station could fuel continued or even more dramatic uproar from local protesters, who successfully prevented Department of Homeland Security buses from depositing 140 illegal aliens at the facility last Tuesday.
Councilman Gene Wunderlich told CNSNews.com, “If they do decide to bring them to Murrieta [again], I’m just concerned it could be a bad situation.”
Breitbart News reported on Sunday that federal agencies plan to continue pushing the transfer this week, and might utilize federal marshals in riot gear.
The attempted transfers are part of the federal government’s response to the ever-increasing wave of illegal aliens crossing the Southwest U.S.-Mexico border. Border Patrol stations along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas have been overrun with family units, unaccompanied children, and single adults crossing in droves of more than 1,200 people per day during the last few weeks, with some local detainment centers housing for days more than three times the number of people they are authorized to hold.
Despite continued protests from local officials, the federal government had planned to transfer groups of illegal immigrants from overcrowded facilities in Texas to be “processed” at the Murrieta border patrol station once every 72 hours.
But when buses arrived Tuesday, July 1, a mass of flag-waving, sign-toting protestors kept them from getting to the facility by blocking the streets.
Wunderlich said many of the protestors are not actually Murrieta residents, explaining that some have come with their “own agenda” which sometimes includes highly-charged or racial statements that do not reflect the sentiments of most city residents.
“The folks from Murrieta who are protesting, they are compassionate folks,” Wunderlich told CNSNews.com. “They’re not protesting the people themselves, they are protesting essentially against the gridlock in Washington that has caused this issue, and that has visited this issue on us.”
Among those protesters who are among the city's roughly 103,000 actual residents, many are largely unhappy with the planned transfers and are concerned about the potential impact on the community’s health and safety, Wunderlich said.
“They are concerned, as we all are, for the health and safety of our community,” he said, adding there has been a lot of worry over the potential spread of diseases.
“When they turned the buses around to take them back to San Diego [on Tuesday], one of the buses had to make a stop at a hospital because three young children were so sick they had to be cared for immediately. So it’s just an unfortunate situation all the way around,” Wunderlich said.
On top of public concern, Wunderlich said the attempted transfer is already having a major impact on the local government and law enforcement, which is costing money, time, and resources the city apparently does not have.
“As a small community, we’re really unprepared to deal with this. Our police force has been completely dedicated to this and trying to maintain order, and it’s just not a good situation from any aspect at all,” he said, adding that the situation has become a “distraction” for local police and fire departments.
When it comes to the cost incurred by the locality, Wunderlich said the city will ask the federal government to foot the bill, but added city officials are not “extremely optimistic” that they will be compensated for any losses.
“We will be sending the federal government a bill,” Wunderlich said. “We are hoping that some of the $2 billion that President Obama requested to deal with this issue the other day, that we’ll be able to tap into that. We are not extremely optimistic, but in terms of man power and overtime, it will definitely hurt our city.”
Murrieta residents are also concerned about the potential release of illegal immigrants into the local community, the councilman said.
According to early reports from a local NBC affiliate, the groups set to be transferred to the city’s border patrol center are family units that are supposed to have contact information for relatives in the United States to use as a final destination after processing.
But according to Wunderlich, there has been some indication that not all transferees have that information.
“There’s a percentage of those folks who do not have identifiable relatives in the area or in the country, and the concern is they’re going to be released into the community,” he said.
“We don’t have the facilities, we don’t have shelters that are equipped to deal with that. The few shelters we do have are already packed with our own residents who lost their homes over the last three or four years during the housing crisis who are unemployed,” he said. “So there are no homes, no shelter, no jobs who are relying on the community for charitable contributions.”
“Again, you can be as compassionate as you want, but facilities only stretch so far, and our ability to respond as a city is limited by our size.”
For a city in Southern California, an area already facing a serious human trafficking problem, there is also concern over young children that may be brought in with nowhere to go, Wunderlich said.
“We already have problems in southern California with human trafficking, so that’s a major concern that some of these young folks with no other ties will find themselves in that situation,” he said. “It’s already a problem that law enforcement is dealing with, but that’s a concern with this influx that that problem will become even greater.”
While Wunderlich said he understands many illegal aliens are fleeing violence and poverty in Central America, easing the burden now facing localities like Murrieta is a “complex situation” starts with “enforcing the laws already on the books.”
“It’s a very complex situation,” he said. “I understand why they’re coming. I understand our role in promoting freedom and helping them. But again, I believe our President’s lack of enforcement, or selective enforcement of laws that are already on the books has acted to encourage this influx, and certainly his comments about deferred action on the deportation of children has encouraged that influx. That’s just extremely discouraging.”