NEW: "Remember these are human beings that are fleeing the violence," mayor says
Protesters and counterprotesters debate in a heated yelling match
The immigrants had arrived for processing from south Texas
The U.S. has been dealing with increasing numbers of children crossing the border
Angry protesters forced three buses carrying undocumented immigrants to turn around Tuesday in Southern California.
The immigrants had arrived in San Diego from south Texas and were on their way to be processed at the Murrieta Border Patrol station.
Protesters chanting “USA!” “Impeach Obama!” and “Deport, Deport!” blocked their route. A heated yelling match ensued between the demonstrators and a group of counterprotesters.
As the buses were forced to retreat, the roughly 140 people on board were taken to a border station in San Ysidro, according to Ron Zermeno with the National Border Patrol Council.
It was not immediately clear whether they would stay there or what would happen next.
The U.S. government is struggling to process and accommodate an influx of undocumented immigrants, and specifically a spike in immigrant children. The government doesn’t have enough beds, food or sanitary facilities.
To help relieve crowded facilities in Texas, undocumented immigrants are now being sent elsewhere to be processed.
Murrieta Police Chief Sean Hadden said that police there had been told to expect 140 immigrants every 72 hours, with the next group scheduled to arrive on Friday.
Authorities estimate 60,000 to 80,000 children without parents will cross the border this year in what the White House has called an “immediate humanitarian crisis.”
The mayor of Murrieta, Alan Long, had urged residents Monday to protest the decision to move undocumented immigrants to the area, the Los Angeles Times reported.
He spoke again Tuesday at a Murrieta City Council meeting, thanking police and others.
“Please remember these are human beings that are fleeing the violence in their home countries. The problem is that they need to come into this country the legal way,” Long said.
CNN’s Rosalina Nieves contributed to this report.