Monday, July 7, 2014

The public response to the influx of refugees from Central America

Beyond the political posturing of Republicans and Democrats on the issue of immigration, there has been the on the ground response of citizens in cities that have been affected by the influx.  As noted in our previous post, the number of children, particularly unaccompanied minors is unprecendented in recent times.  It harkens back to the 1960s exodus of Cuban children known as Operation Pedro Pan

The media has focused attention on the protest by citizens of Murrieta, California who blocked busloads of migrants begin brought to the town for processing -- as in this report from NBC news:

Murrieta Mayor: Undocumented Immigrant Bus Protests Are Free Speech

 "'What people need to understand is that they [protesters] are showing their emotion and passion about a federal policy that isn’t working,' Murrieta Mayor Alan Long said Wednesday, speaking in support of crowds that blocked buses full of undocumented immigrants trying to enter the town a day earlier."

However, the protests in Murrieta are an outlier - in most border cities, organizations like Catholic Charities are reaching out to help house and feed the migrants as noted in this report from NBC news:

In Some Towns, Immigrants Met With Aid Instead of Anger

"'Right now it’s not about politics. It’s about a humanitarian crisis,' said Ofelia de los Santos of Catholic Charities, whose group helps about 200 people a day. McAllen and the other small towns in the Rio Grande Valley were described as a region where most are first-, second- or third-generation Mexican-Americans."

Meanwhile, militia groups are heading onto the scene, raising concerns about armed civilians encountering immigrants as they come across the border:

Texas militia leader's video on border patrols draws fire                      

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