Jul 7, 2014 No Comments ›› Niki Monroe
SAN DIEGO - A third plane filled with Central American immigrants, mostly unaccompanied children, will land at Lindbergh Field Monday as protests continue at the Border Patrol station in Murrieta.
The first plane from Texas carrying 140 immigrants arrived Tuesday. The immigrants were then transported to the Border Patrol facility in Murrieta. However, the buses were blocked by protesters and forced to head back down to a facility in San Ysidro.
The second plane arrived Friday, the immigrants were bused to a BP facility in San Ysidro.
Ron Zermeno, a Border Patrol union official, told 10News last week that 40 of those immigrants on the first plane were quarantined at the BP Chula Vista Station with active scabies and head lice. The rest were processed through other BP facilities and released.
Zermeno later disclosed that a BP agent who had being processing immigrants had contracted scabies.
On Sunday, Zermeno told 10News that BP had placed him under a gag order.
“As long as they send the bodies up there (Murrieta) to be processed, there will be no agents patrolling, and that’s what the agency doesn’t want me to say,” Zermeno said.
Thousands of children and families have arrived on the Texas border in recent months fleeing violence, murders and extortion from criminal gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained.
The crunch on the border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley prompted U.S. authorities to fly immigrant families to other Texas cities and to Southern California for processing.
The Border Patrol is coping with excess capacity across the Southwest, and cities’ responses to the arriving immigrants have ranged from welcoming to indifferent. In the border town of El Centro, California, a flight arrived Wednesday without protest.
President Barack Obama last week called the spike in immigrants crossing into the U.S. through Texas a “humanitarian crisis.” He asked for more than $2 billion to help with the situation. The president said he will go around Congress and shift resources to the border by the end of summer.
After being processed, the immigrants are being turned over to U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). Those planning on staying with family members or friends across the country are being taken to bus terminals or airports — but will be required to report to the nearest ICE facility for case management.
Zermeno said the immigrants will continue to be distributed among San Diego Sector Border Patrol facilities, which could include El Cajon, El Centro, Chula Vista, Campo, Boulevard or San Clemente.
After being screened by the Department of Human Services, the immigrants might be released with instructions to report to an ICE office within 15 days. Some could be allowed to stay under the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program. According to ICE, ATD is a “flight-mitigation tool that uses technology and case management to increase compliance with release conditions and facilitate alien compliance with court hearings and final orders of removal while allowing aliens to remain in their community.”