Arizona protesters hope to stop immigrant transfer

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

15 PHOTOS
Immigrant children
See Gallery
Arizona protesters hope to stop immigrant transfer
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeau addresses immigration protesters on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Oracle, Ariz. Dozens of protesters on both sides of the immigration debate showed up in Oracle, a small town near Tucson, on Tuesday after the sheriff said the federal government plans to transport about 40 immigrant children to an academy for troubled youths. Anger has been spreading throughout the U.S. Southwest since a massive surge in unaccompanied Central American children crossing the border illegally began more than a month ago. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff)
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: Boys await medical appointments in a holding area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Young children join immigration reform protesters while marching in front of the White House July 7, 2014 in Washington, DC. During the rally participants condemned 'the President's response to the crisis of unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence and to demand administrative relief for all undocumented families'. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Young children join immigration reform protesters while marching in front of the White House July 7, 2014 in Washington, DC. During the rally participants condemned 'the President's response to the crisis of unaccompanied children and families fleeing violence and to demand administrative relief for all undocumented families'. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer helps out a few boys who are trying to make phone calls as they are joined by hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children that are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
Students walk under the rain after school, at the community of San Jose Las Flores, in the northern Cuchumatanes mountains of Guatemala, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. In this small community Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez was born, a Guatemalan boy whose decomposed body was found in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. The number of unaccompanied immigrant children picked up along the border has been rising for three years as they flee pervasive gang violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. More recently, children and parents have said they heard children traveling alone and parents traveling with young kids would be released by authorities and allowed to continue to their destination. (AP Photo/Luis Soto)
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 4: Counter-demonstrators to protesters opposing arrivals of buses carrying largely women and children undocumented migrants for processing at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station are detained on July 4, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Five people were arrested. Earlier this week, protesters turned away buses carrying about 140 immigrants in custody to the processing center. The immigrants are being flown from Texas where authorities are dealing with a with a crush of Central American children crossing the border to turned themselves in to border patrol agents. The influx is being fueled as people flee drug and violence problems in Central America with misinformation about immigration laws, and by drug cartels smuggling unaccompanied children of all ages across the border then leaving them on the U.S. side. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
MURRIETA, CA - JULY 04: A protester who opposes arrivals of buses carrying largely women and children undocumented migrants for processing at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station and a counter-demonstrator (L) face off on July 4, 2014 in Murrieta, California. Earlier this week, protesters in the city turned away buses carrying about 140 immigrants that had been apprehended in Texas and flown to California for processing as Texas deals with an influx of immigrants. Federal officials estimate more than 50,000 minors, mostly from Central America, have been caught crossing the border since October 2013. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 30: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest (L) and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (R) listen to U.S. President Barack Obama speak about immigration reform in the Rose Garden of the White House June 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said today that the House of Representatives would not take up immigration reform legislation this year and Obama said he would continue to use his executive power to bolster enforcement on the southern border. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: Hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are separated into age and gender holding areas as they are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: Detainees are escorted to an area to make phone calls as hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
A child's tricycle stands in the court yard of the Senda de Vida shelter in Reynosa, Mexico, on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. More than 47,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the border since October, a 92 percent increase from the prior year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They're part of a surge of immigrants, mainly Central American, fleeing violence and poverty after hearing that immigration policy has grown more accommodating. Photographer: Tochiro Gallegos/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers wait for new arrivals in the intake area where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff a medical section where if needed the hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children can get medical attention as they are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
NOGALES, AZ - JUNE 18: Two female detainees sleep in a holding cell, as the children are separated by age group and gender, as hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona. Brownsville, Texas, and Nogales, have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


ORACLE, Ariz. (AP) - Dozens of protesters on both sides of the immigration debate showed up in a small town near Tucson on Tuesday after the sheriff said the federal government plans to transport about 40 immigrant children to an academy for troubled youths.

The rallies demonstrated the deep divide of the immigration debate. One group waved American flags, held signs that read "Return to Sender" and "Go home non-Yankees" and said they would block a bus that was supposed to arrive with immigrant children aboard. A few miles up the road, pro-immigrant supporters held welcome signs with drawings of hearts. The dueling groups each had about 50 people.

"We are not going to tolerate illegals forced upon us," protester Loren Woods said.

Emily Duwel of Oracle said she did not want her town to be misrepresented by what she said was a minority of people against the children being housed here.

"I'm just concerned about these children who have had to escape worlds of incredible violence," Duwel said.

Anger has been spreading in the town of Oracle since Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu warned residents last week that immigrant children from Central America caught crossing the border illegally would be placed at the Sycamore Canyon Academy in Oracle. Protesters were hoping to mirror demonstrations in Murrieta, California, when immigrants were taken there recently.

Babeu is credited with stirring up the anti-immigrant protesters via social media postings and a press release Monday and by leaking information about the migrants coming to a local activist.

He addressed both sides of the protesters, asking them to remain civil, abide by the law and keep the roads cleared.

Babeu says he is concerned about public safety because he does not know whether any of the migrant children are gang affiliated or have health issues. He said that reports of health issues are likely overblown.

Babeu has generated controversy in the past over his immigration rhetoric. When five bodies were found in a burned-out SUV in his county in 2012, Babeu quickly declared that the killings appeared to be the work of a drug cartel. A few days later, it was learned that it was a murder-suicide of a suburban Phoenix family and not drug-related.

"All this was done in secrecy and that's where a lot of people are upset," Babeu said Tuesday. "My concern (is) where's the federal government? Why are they not here? Why did they not hold a town hall to answer some of these questions?"

Calls to the academy where the children were supposed to be housed were not returned. A spokesman for the federal Department of Health and Human Services said the agency would not identify the locations of shelters for migrants to protect their identities and security.

"We don't know who they are. We don't know their health conditions. We don't know a doggone thing because the federal government isn't telling us anything," protest organizer Robert Skiba said.

Anger has been spreading since a massive surge in unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally began more than a month ago. Though largely considered a humanitarian crisis, the influx of immigrants has also become political fodder.

In a state known for its strict immigration laws, including SB1070, which many call the "show me your papers" law, attitudes are just as contentious.

The fallout began in late May when reports surfaced that immigration officials were dropping off hundreds of women and children at Phoenix and Tucson Greyhound bus stations after they had been caught crossing the border illegally.

Within a week, immigration authorities were flying hundreds of children who had crossed the border into Texas alone to the Border Patrol facility in Nogales. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer sharply criticized the move and demanded it stop. Republican candidates for governor have also chimed in. Some are expected to attend the rally on Tuesday.

Read Full Story

People are Reading