While the nation waits for a response from Congress regarding President Barack Obama’s request of $3.7 billion to stem the recent tide of undocumented immigrants, groups protesting the surge of undocumented individuals have begun to appear across the country. While this is somewhat unsurprising, an interesting dynamic has begun to unfold as anti-immigration protestors all over have found themselves met by equally vocal groups supporting comprehensive immigration reform and immigrant rights.
In Murrieta, California, last week, buses carrying undocumented immigrants and unaccompanied immigrant children to a federal holding area were forced to reroute after protesters blocked their way for hours. In Fontana, California, however, 40 individuals brought in on a Department of Homeland Security bus have been welcomed by the community with donations containing clothing, food and even toys for the children.
The same sort of parallel appears to be occurring in Iowa, where Gov. Terry Branstad has discouraged the federal government from sending any undocumented immigrants seeking a home while they wait for their immigration hearings. At the same time, Kathleen McQuillen, Iowa program director of the American Friends Service Committee, is leading a group that’s outraged at the state’s unwillingness to help immigrant children.
“It’s a simple thing to begin to say, what’s important in this world?” McQuillen told CNN.
These scenes of demonstrated disagreement are occurring all over the country as the federal government scrambles to find a solution to what has been labeled by many, including Obama, as a humanitarian crisis. In an eight-month period leading up to June 15, 2014, over 52,000 unaccompanied children were detained at the U.S./Mexico border attempting to enter the country, the vast majority of them being from Central America. It is estimated that by the end of the year that number will be nearly 90,000, leaving federal authorities at a loss for a solution.