MURRIETA, California (CNN) — The busloads of detained immigrants never arrived.
For that, six protesters and counterprotesters got themselves arrested, Murrieta police said.
Almost all day Friday, two factions of demonstrators endured a hot July 4th holiday verbally sparring over an anticipated convoy of buses carrying detained immigrants who are a part of a surge in illegal border crossings.
Instead, the migrants were rerouted for processing at the federal San Ysidro facility in San Diego, reported the Los Angeles Times, citing a law enforcement source.
The migrants had been expected to be processed at Murrieta’s U.S. Border Patrol station, located 75 miles north of the Mexican border, but federal officials declined Saturday to say where the buses took the migrants.
Friday’s angry protests was the second public outrcy of the week in the small southern California town of Murrieta, becoming the nation’s newest flashpoint in its immigration crisis.
The first protests occurred Tuesday after the city and Mayor Alan Long posted on the city’s website a notice stating that “Murrieta Opposes Illegal Immigrant Arrival.”
Long said in a website statement that Murrieta “continues to object to the transfer of illegal immigrants to the local border patrol office,” and he blamed the nation’s immigration woes on “a failure to enforce federal law at the federal level.”
At Tuesday’s protest, a group of protesters overwhelmed law officers and successfully prevented three busloads of detained Central Americans from entering Murrieta. The migrants were instead sent to the San Ysidro site in San Diego, said an official with the National Border Patrol Council, the union for border agents.
Tuesday marked the first day of a federal initiative to transfer 140 migrants every 72 hours for processing in Murrieta. Federal officials initially sought to send 500 detained immigrants every 72 hours for processing in Murrieta, but city officials opposed that, the mayor said.
The migrants rejected by Murrieta protesters initially had been held in Texas, where U.S. facilities are overflowing, forcing detainees to be sent to other states for processing.
A recent tide of Central Americans illegally entering the United States has overwhelmed a federal immigration system already buckling under the weight of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented migrants.
Unlike undocumented Mexican migrants, who are often immediately deported, the United States detains and processes Central Americans, who are eventually released and given a month to report to immigration offices.
Many never show up and join the undocumented population, according to the National Border Patrol Council.