On Thursday’s “America’s Newsroom” on the Fox News Channel, Murrieta, CA Mayor Alan Long gave an on-the-ground perspective of his city’s response to federal efforts to house illegal immigrants in his city.
Long explained the root of the frustration of his citizens, which he said primarily stems from the unresponsiveness of the federal government to offer answers about their plans.
“There is still a lot of frustration and I think you heard it from the clip you just played is illegal immigration is what people are upset about,” Long said. “And they’re very frustrated because there is not a whole lot of answers, I mean from Border Patrol, or the Homeland Security Department on solution. I took the opportunity last night to remind everyone that you know, showing clips of angry people really isn’t a true reflection of Murrieta, to keep it civil.”
“There is another opposing side of this that is just as angry and I think if you talk to them, they would agree that they want an efficient process,” he continued. “I think that is what both sides are really looking for – is an efficient legal process that ensures the health and safety of everybody including the immigrants. I mean, we really pointed out last night that some immigrants are being exploited. They are not held in facilities designed for long-term care and overnight shelter. And that is important too. So both sides should really come together on this one issue.”
Long decried the partisan divide in Washington, D.C. and called on both Republicans and Democrats to find a solution. He pointed to the lack of a stand at the southern border and stonewalling from the federal government as areas that could be improved upon.
He also touted his community’s compassion, which has been undermined in national media reports.
“We’ve heard some of those passionate people, seeing clips on the news and coming to a conclusion that Murrieta is not compassionate,” Long said. “That is to the contrary. We have over 700 non-profit organizations within our area and they all serve a need and we’re a very compassionate city. It’s a shame that minutes of video time on the news channel really stereotypes our city. And that is one of the words I wanted to get out. What didn’t make the news is all the outpouring of help from faith-based organizations and non-profits. We had them geared up and ready to go. The problem is, we didn’t know how to utilize them and implement them because remember these immigrants are not in federal custody.”
“We were not getting answers where they were going and how we can intervene to help,” he continued. “Supervisor [Jeff] Stone offered up a mobile hospital to do a thorough health screening at Border Patrol office, and we could not get approval from the federal government in time to set that up. So, those are the types of things we’ve been trying to do. You’ve heard of concerns from our council members and myself about the facility. There is originally the reason why we opposed it is because they wanted to send 500 every 72 hours and that facility is not set up for long-term housing. And there are only capable of processing 25 per eight-hour shift. You do the math. That means a lot of women and children staying there overnight in facility not designed to do so.”
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