The crisis created by our broken immigration system and children fleeing violence in Central America reached a dramatic fever pitch on Tuesday, as anti-immigrant protesters physically attempted to block buses headed for a Border Patrol center in Murrieta, California. Not to be messed with, immigration officials arrested the protesters, and the buses continued on their way.
Oh, wait, sorry, that's what happens when people try to protest deportations. If you're a pissed-off mob of bigoted anti-immigrant xenophobes, you get your way. Three buses, containing about 140 immigration detainees (mostly women and children) who fled Central America for our southern border, were turned away from the Border Patrol station in Murrieta, California by a mob of about 150 protesters, who chanted "Go home!", "We want to be safe," and, of course, "USA! USA!"
Still, maybe they were all just patriotic Americans with a legitimate police gripe, and not a bunch of racist assholes. Or maybe not:
Lupillo Rivera, 42, of Temecula, said he was driving by when he noticed the protest. He said somebody shouted that he was an illegal immigrant and should go home.
Rivera, a well-known Mexican banda singer who is a U.S. citizen, went home and returned with several of his friends and bandmates to confront the protesters.
Maybe he should have shown them his papers.
Conservatives have been stoking angst about the influx of unaccompanied children to the southern border for weeks now, trying to blame it on President Obama's executive action halting deportations of DREAMers, but as normal news people have repeatedly noted, the desire of parents not to have their children murdered in Central America is the real "magnet" here.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the protest at Wednesday's daily briefing, but declined to comment, just as he declined to comment when I asked him about the consequences of letting the Cliven Bundy mob have their way with the Bureau of Land Management. The Bundy mob was better-armed than the Murrieta protesters, but the result was much the same, and so was the message: if you are white enough, right-wing enough, and angry enough, you will get your way. Even the United States Supreme Court said so, just last week.
No one is saying that the feds should necessarily be casually pepper-spraying these people, or fracturing their skulls with tear gas grenades, but there must be some middle-ground between the way everyone else gets treated, and the way angry white people always get their way, because the message they're sending is frightening to the rest of us.