More than 100 people gathered outside Murrieta city hall on Wednesday evening last week to show solidarity and support for the unaccompanied immigrant minors who have started to arrive in Texas. Members of the vigil referred in a statement to the unaccompanied minors as being refugees and expressed their wish for Murrieta and the United States as a whole to welcome them to the country with understanding and compassion.
The peaceful holders of the vigil were greeted by a small contingent of protesters against immigration. The protesters, who were massively outnumbered, yelled comments such as “We speak English here”, wore ‘Border Patrol’-emblazoned T-shirts and waved American flags. The vigil was nonetheless a success, with a collection being taken of clothing, food, money and other donations for immigrant minors and their families.
Elva and Angel Rosales, a couple from Guatemala, spoke to the crowd in Spanish and told the story of how they came to the United States. Although they had their infant son with them, their other two children, who are just seven and ten years old, are currently at a Texan detention center.
Justice for Immigrants Coalition of Inland Southern California member Fernando Romero was also at the vigil and noted to the Press Enterprise that he was hoping the demonstration would bring attention to the root causes of immigration. “A lot of these children and family members are going to be turned around and sent back,” Romero said. “There was no addressing of the reasons why these folks are coming here in the first place.”