Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Let's Debate: The Murrieta Migrant Protest and Inland Empire Mass Transit

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
riversidetransit@gmail.com


If you follow the national news, you're likely well informed of the serious issue and controversy of the massive volume of Central American migrant children and families coming into the USA without registering with the federal government or going through the legal entry or naturalization process. Floods of people who once lived in social chaos and dire poverty are seeking an opportunity to come into the United States and thrive. Once in the country, they are turning themselves into authorities knowing that they will not be deported under current law. It's evident according to reports that the Mexican government aided and abetted in this migration effort. Reports also show that Mexican drug cartels and organized criminal human traffickers are involved putting these innocent Central American people and the freedom they seek at grave risk which is why the federal government needs to better secure the Mexican border and put an end to this criminal human slavery movement.

On the other front, we clearly have a grave humanitarian issue at stake given the massive displacements of people including innocent children, many of whom were exposed to the vile criminal trafficking market.

During the last few weeks while I was away from this blog, the issue hit home when bus loads of young migrants detained in Texas arrived in Murrieta sparking an angry protest at the U.S. Border Patrol station. After processing, these people were reportedly being released at bus stations in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Perris. I'll be in touch with our local transit agencies later this week to get some more information as bus transit ridership demands and transit center usage will increase if this pattern continues.

Murrieta01 I want to make clear that the Transit Coalition generally takes a neutral stand on political ideology outside of transportation, environmental, and economic growth issues. This includes ideological positions on the immigration debate. Both sides have strong and valid fact-based points that must be considered for justified and fair immigration policy.

Congress must stop pandering to the divisive political opinions and dispositions and pass comprehensive immigration reform which would render this gross displacement of human beings unnecessary and protect the border from criminal human trafficking into the country. Human trafficking is an evil, disgusting crime against the basic liberty, justice, and rights of a human being which must be put to an end. Just like organized street gangs in the Inland Empire, it must not be allowed to grow. The root causes of trafficking must be identified and eliminated. Trafficking and slavery of humans must be ridden worldwide, period.

Strong and productive robust debate is essential to generate immigration laws that promote justice, liberty, and security for we the people all without bankrupting the nation's resources. The U.S.A. is a country of immigrants and opportunity. For hundreds of years, history documents that such immigrants have had different reasons to come to this country. Some came to escape war, others to leave religious oppression for the religious freedom. Others came for the opportunity to work under our capitalistic system to escape physical poverty and become self-reliant. At the same point, we cannot allow organized crime, smuggling and trafficking to plague the country with lax border rules.

A group of people in Murrieta have issues of the migrants being processed there. We all get that. The protest broadcasted that message. I can understand the frustration of a grave national controversy arriving in Southwest Riverside County with little notice from the federal government. But the hatred and personal attacks that took place during the demonstration from both sides gets us nowhere. It certainly does not reflect the viewpoint of fair-minded Americans. To be fair, Murrieta officials have done a good job addressing and confronting this issue locally, acknowledged the hate attacks is unproductive, wants to make sure the city will remain safe, hosted a public press conference on Monday to educate the public of the incoming migrant buses and safety of the city, and the Mayor of Murrieta seeks to have one protester who spat in the face of another of whom had an opposing opinion prosecuted. But it is the federal government that must step up and finally solve this problem that has been plaguing our nation for decades on in.

So with this big mess on our hands and in the Inland Empire, how can we fix it?

The fact is the Inland Empire has new and undocumented people coming into the region and it's likely many of them are not going to leave the country anytime soon. This is a serious national problem that requires leadership with straight and fair solutions. Clinging to political ideology will not address this. So, here are the questions for discussion: How do you think we can take care of these migrants without draining precious public resources or spending billions in tax dollars? How can we help them get around the region despite the fact our transportation infrastructure generally cannot handle the current demands? How can they become more self-reliant so that they can improve--not obstruct--the welfare of this country? What can we do to finally stop the disgusting and criminal modern-day form of slavery called human trafficking that continues to occur in our region? How can we promote "liberty and justice for all."?

Let the debate begin.

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