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Obama calls for revamped policies
WASHINGTON – Celebrating the ethnic diversity of America, President Barack Obama said more than two dozen foreign-born service members who became U.S. citizens at the White House on the Fourth of July are vivid reminders that welcoming immigrants “is central to our way of life.”
He pleaded anew for new immigration policies, saying the vast range of backgrounds and experiences that has made America a melting pot for more than 200 years also makes the country stronger. He argued that the system must be retooled for the U.S. to remain the greatest nation on earth.
“The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life, it is in our DNA,” Obama said after the 25 service members representing 15 countries raised their right hands and pledged allegiance to the United States.
Associated Press
A demonstrator who opposes illegal immigration shouts at immigration supporters Friday outside a U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta, Calif.

Border Patrol post hosts rival protests

– Rumors had swirled among anti-immigration activists near a U.S. Border Patrol station in Southern California that the agency would try again to bus in some of the immigrants who have flooded across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Instead, they got dueling anti- and pro-immigration rallies Friday.

The crowd of 200 outside the station in Murrieta waved signs and sometimes shouted at each other. One banner read: “Proud LEGAL American. It Doesn’t Work Any Other Way.” Another countered: “Against Illegal Immigration? Great! Go Back to Europe!”

Law enforcement officers separated the two sides and contained them on one approach to the station, leaving open an approach from the opposite direction.

It was not certain, however, that any buses would arrive Friday. Because of security concerns, federal authorities have said, they will not publicize immigrant transfers among border patrol facilities.

By late afternoon, many demonstrators were leaving.

This week, the city became the latest flashpoint in the intensifying immigration debate when a crowd of protesters waving American flags blocked buses carrying women and children who were flown from overwhelmed Texas facilities.

Federal authorities had hoped to process them at the station in Murrieta, about 55 miles north of downtown San Diego.

“This is a way of making our voices heard,” said Steve Prime, a resident of nearby Lake Elsinore. “The government’s main job is to secure our borders and protect us – and they’re doing neither.”

Immigration supporters said the immigrants need to be treated as humans and that migrating to survive is not a crime.

“We’re celebrating the Fourth of July, and what a melting pot America is,” said Raquel Alvarado, a high school history teacher and Murrieta resident who chalked up the fear of migrants in the city of roughly 106,000 to discrimination.

“They don’t want to have their kids share the same classroom,” she said.

The city’s mayor, Alan Long, became a hero to those seeking stronger immigration policies with his criticism of the federal government’s efforts to handle the influx of thousands of immigrants, many of them mothers and children.

In recent months, thousands of children and families have fled violence, murders and extortion from criminal gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained.

The crunch on the border in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley prompted U.S. authorities to fly immigrant families to other Texas cities and to Southern California for processing.

The Border Patrol is coping with excess capacity across the Southwest, and cities’ responses to the arriving immigrants have ranged from welcoming to indifferent.

In the border town of El Centro, California, a flight arrived Wednesday without protest.

In Nogales, Arizona, the mayor has said he welcomes the hundreds of children who are being dropped off daily at a large Border Patrol warehouse. Residents have donated clothing and other items for them.

In New Mexico, however, residents have been less enthusiastic. At a town hall meeting this week, residents in Artesia spoke out against a detention center that recently started housing immigrants.

They said they were afraid the immigrants would take jobs and resources from U.S. citizens.

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