A chartered airplane carrying another round of undocumented immigrant women and children landed in San Diego on the 4th of July.
The plane arrived at Lindbergh Field just before 7 p.m. Homeland Security buses waited nearby, ready to transport the passengers to their next destination. Many of those passengers appeared to be young mothers with babies and toddlers in tow.
The undocumented families and children from Central America were flown from Texas to San Diego for processing as part of the federal government's plan to address the nation’s border crisis.
The group, though initially expected to be shuttled to Murrieta’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) station, were bused to a San Ysidro processing station and an immigration office on Front Street in downtown San Diego.
Border Patrol Health and Safety director Ron Zermano told NBC 7 the families would be medically examined at those destinations and offered food and showers. Next, he said, they would most likely be transported to other Border Patrol facilities to be processed.
Meanwhile, throughout the day in Murrieta, hoards of both protesters and supporters had awaited the arrival of the buses filled with immigrants -- though they never came.
Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, protesters showed up in Murrieta, blocking buses carrying the first round of approximately 140 undocumented immigrants bound for the CBP facility. The heated demonstration forced federal authorities to send the passengers to smaller processing centers throughout San Diego County including Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Otay Mesa.
Friday's protesters said they planned a repeat of those events.
The demonstrations began bright and early, and grew louder throughout the day, with two sides clearly divided.
Tim Donnelly showed up in Murrieta in opposition. He said he's concerned the undocumented children will be released to coyotes and drug traffickers, with American authorities making the process easier.
"I have a huge concern over whether our government is being made complicit in completing the trafficking circle. We could have sworn law enforcement actually completing the work of the cartels and coyotes by handing children over to a trafficker," Donnelly told NBC 7.
Tess Stein also came out to protest.
“I’m trying to make sense of what’s going on. I don’t understand where all these people are supposed to go. Why were they shipped here? It doesn’t make any sense. If someone wants to be in America, they should do it legally,” said Stein.
Orly Caitz agreed: “This nation is being flooded. This has to end.”
Despite the crowds of people gathered on both sides of the debate, the Murrieta Police Department said they could not confirm whether additional busloads of immigrants would actually arrive in their community Friday.
In a media release, the department did say the U.S. Border Patrol had originally reported buses of undocumented immigrants could be transported to the Murrieta CBP station every third day beginning on July 1. The department said the Border Patrol would ultimately have the final say on whether or not to keep using the Murrieta station as a facility to process the immigrants from Central America.
The police department also noted that officers have been assigned outside the facility to “maintain the peace, order and safety of demonstrators.”
The department said officers arrested one protester Friday morning for disobeying an officer. He was
booked and later released. Several other protesters were arrested throughout the day.
Meanwhile, pro-immigration supporters also banded together. The San Diego-based nonprofit, Border Angels, has been accepting donations for the immigrant transfers all week.
On Friday, La Mesa resident Roberta Villaescusa brought oatmeal, water, toothbrushes and other personal hygiene items to the Border Angeles headquarters to donate to the women and children.
She was on her way to the beach for the 4th of July and felt compelled to stop and contribute.
“They’re kids and women in need, and who doesn’t help people in need?” said Villaescusa, holding back tears. “Aren’t we celebrating our freedom? Our freedom to reach out, help others and show them Democracy can work if you do.”
Another couple walked into the Border Angels headquarters with boxes of diapers while another man, Sam Dhubar, brought apple juice, eating utensils and lice medicine.
He too felt strongly about lending a helping hand.
“Independence Day for Americans means that you need to give independence to people running away from violence. If they’re knocking at their door, you need to make sure that your door is open for them," said Dhubar. "They have the same soul that is in your body and my body.”
The undocumented families and children will be released from CBP to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials for additional processing.
The priority is to reunite the immigrants with families members currently in the U.S., officials said.
They will be given a scheduled date for an immigration hearing and will be expected to return to federal authorities. Undocumented immigrants are typically released in anywhere from eight to 36 hours after detainment, officials said.
On Friday afternoon, an ICE spokesperson told NBC 7 she had no information regarding how many, if any, of the immigrants had been released.
Meanwhile, Enrique Morones of Border Angels said he also hadn't heard anything new about possible releases. He said he suspects some of the immigrants may be released in small numbers throughout the weekend.