Protesters and counter-protesters yesterday made Arizona the latest border state to be turned into a national flashpoint over the issue of unaccompanied immigrant minors illegally entering the United States. Dozens of demonstrators descended on Oracle in Arizona, which is about 100 miles to the north of the border with Mexico, where it is thought that federal officials are intending to send dozens of detained immigrant minors to be housed.
“I’m protesting the invasion of the United States by people of foreign countries,” Oracle resident Eldon Rhodes declared. “This is about the sovereignty of our nation.” The counter-protesters, meanwhile, were worried that a negative image of the town was being created all over the country. 35-year-old St Helen Catholic Church parish council president Frank Pierson says that he is worried about Oracle being thought of as against immigrants and children. “We think the angels of our better nature need to be reflected through efforts like this one,” he explained.
The confrontation happened following a similar demonstration in Murrieta in California resulted in vitriolic arguments about the immigration system in the United States being overwhelmed by a wave of immigrants from Central America. Three busloads of detained immigrants entering Murrieta for federal processing were blocked by protesters.
Activists are now organizing a nationwide movement to protest about the surge in immigration, with at least 260 protests set to take place this weekend across the country.