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Murrieta residents trekked to Texas on Border Convoy

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Issue 33, Volume 18.
Michelle Mears-Gerst
Special to the Valley News

Earlier this summer, buses carrying hundreds of undocumented aliens may have been turned around due to Murrieta residents taking a strong stand on illegal immigration but the crisis continues in Texas, Arizona and other border states as thousands of undocumented immigrants continue to cross the United States borders.

The protests that thrust Murrieta into a national spotlight just over a month ago was the tipping point for a group of residents who want to see the borders secured and the immigration laws followed.

A coalition of citizens formed after the protests in June and July in Murrieta from those who share a deep concern for what they call an "invasion" currently happening unchecked at the nation’s borders. A core group of organizers was part of the Murrieta Border Patrol blockade who are now seeking to affect the immigration dialogue by supporting local communities taking a stand against the federal government.

"Unlike our federal government, we support the work our Border Patrol Agents have been doing and continue to do. Our coalition calls on Americans to join those already defending the border and help stop government-funded human trafficking," said Eric Odom an organizer for the nine-day convoy. "We want to bring the spirit of Murrieta with us. We’ll encourage communities to rise up and take a stand against unconstitutional federal incursions."

The initial border convoy began in Murrieta on August 1 with close to fifty vehicles in tow and landed in McAllen, Texas on August 9. The total number in the convoy dwindled as they reached McAllen. Odom said some members decided to travel with local militia groups after Mexican drug cartel were spotted outside a Quality Inn Hotel the group was staying at one evening.

"A local militia group pounded on our doors in the middle of the night Advertisement
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telling us we had ten minutes to pack and leave because it wasn’t safe. The Mexican drug cartel was spotted watching our convoy outside the hotel," Odom said.

According to Odom, the border is a war zone and unsecured.

Pete Santilli who is from Southern California and was at the protests in Murrieta led another protest on August 9 at the McAllen bus station where illegal immigrants were being given bus tickets to travel throughout the United States to unknown destinations.

Santilli and other convoy members told reporters in Texas on Friday that their goal was to encourage other cities to rise up for border security and against current detention practices.

"Our message is a humanitarian one, Santilli said. Immigrants are entering the country illegally carrying diseases and being harmed."

Convoy members held signs reading, "Stop Obama’s Invasion." Members also rallied against the government for being unable to halt the border crisis during a news conference before dozens of members of the media and scores of protesters.

"To those who think this is all about the children, no it is about drugs and human trafficking and pedophilia," Santilli said. "Don’t let them exploit the babies and children and women."

Santilli said in his experience traveling to Texas he was disappointed in seeing a lack of participation from Texas residents. The convoy had people travel as far as Illinois to protest the unsecured borders.

"Texas is a weak link. It has a lot of work to do to save their state," said Santilli. "Texas’s border is absolutely blown apart. That state is harming the entire country by not securing the borders."

Members of the convoy who saw first-hand the border issues feel the only way to secure the borders since the federal government is not is with volunteer militia.



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