Buses turned away from Murrieta end up at Chula Vista Border Station
Crowds of demonstrators welcoming immigrants gather outside Chula Vista Border Station
Once the buses that were turned away in Murrieta left, they headed to the 15 south, and eventually made their way to the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station. The station is actually in San Ysidro, very close to the Mexican border.
Three white motor coaches pulled into the station at about 4:00 Tuesday afternoon. About 140-undocumented immigrants, mainly women and children from Central America walked inside through a fenced in entrance. Whether they were to be processed there was unclear as of Tuesday night.
"These people crossed in the clothing that they've been wearing since they left their country. They, a lot of them have poor hygeine because of the trip and we're not even giving them a chance to launder their clothing or to take a shower," said Border Patrol Agents Union representative Ron Zermeno. Zermeno also told San Diego 6 some of the immigrants were carrying diseases. Some of the children had conditions like head lice. Late on Tuesday night, San Diego 6 learned that between 3 and 4 children were taken to Rady Children's Hospital. Why they were taken or what their condition was wasn't made public.
It's obviously a desperate situation for the immigrants, and an expensive one for the American taxpayer, both in time and money. Ron Zermeno said it takes between 4 and 6 hours to process each immigrant, and at a cost of 490-dollars per person, that adds up to 70-thousand dollars per flight. And he said what happens after the women and children are processed, is disturbing. "They're not deporting them. They're transporting them here to be processed and to be released into the communities. A lot of people don't know where to go. They have nowhere to go," he said.
Zermeno said after being released, the immigrants are given an order to show up for an immigration hearing, but he said few do.
So, what is happening in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador that is causing these thousands of mainly women and children to leave their homes? Vicente Rodriguez with the rescue group Aguilas Del Desierto said gangs have taken over parts of those countries and they're demanding poor residents pay them money. "Now that they're paying the collection money, they can't afford to live there and if they don't pay it, they get death threats. So, people are fleeing the area. What choice do they have," he asked.
Another 2 planeloads of the undocumented immigrants are due to arrive in San Diego by week's end.