The Central American Immigration Crisis and Transit

Transit Talking Points By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

This week's Transit Talking Points is going to be brief on opinion and more on facts simply because the national controversy over the massive volume of Central American migrant children and families coming into the USA is very complex and I have to be careful not to take anything out of context which is very easy to do. Last Wednesday's Let's Debate of this issue illustrates some points relative to the protests in Murrieta and states that The Transit Coalition takes a neutral stance on ideological positions on the heated immigration debate even though the current law has already proven to be at an awful state given this mass migration of innocent Central Americans and children which threatens our nation's resources and security. To be fair, the social conditions in these Central American countries is absolutely chaotic and these people are not wrong in pursuing this opportunity to come into the USA which is why the federal law must be reformed. Being a transit advocacy group, we are in no position to write up a solution, but acknowledge that the current system is a mess and must be fixed. That's why we elect representatives to debate and solve this serious problem.

Our local entities, especially The City of Murrieta have done a great job on addressing this issue and it is without question that the White House should secure the border immediately to stop the corrupt Mexican smugglers and human traffickers who are making a lot of money bringing the Central Americans into the USA with the Mexican government aiding and abetting. Such corruption must not be allowed to flood into the USA to protect us from such evil crime. Congress should pass comprehensive immigration reform so that innocent Central Americans desiring to escape the awful social conditions in their hometowns have a fair process and means available to migrate into the USA without overwhelming the nation's resources or putting safety and security at risk. The City of Murrieta has been very transparent on this issue and has published videos, points of contact and answers to common question on its Immigration Update website which includes a petition drive to pass fair and just immigration laws.

One point to make clear is what happens after the Central Americans are processed at the Murrieta US Border Patrol Station as there was a concern about the potential impacts of our local transit system that I raised on Wednesday. The transit demand surge is actually the intercity trip between the Inland Empire and the migrant's final destination which generally affects longer distance intercity providers. According to this fact sheet published by the City of Temecula, the federal plan is this:

Once the detainees have been processed by USBP at the Murrieta facility, they will be transported by ICE to their final destination if within the ICE Los Angeles District Field Office jurisdiction which includes the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. If the family unit’s final destination is outside of this area, ICE has partnered with a local non-profit to assist with arranging transportation via bus, train or plane. This includes regional Greyhound bus depots. The intent of ICE is to send illegal immigrants to their intended family/friend support destination in the United States. Our understanding is that 95% of those that are transported to Murrieta from Texas have a friend or relative somewhere else in the United States to receive them after processing at the Murrieta Border Patrol Station.

Our local officials have done a great job in addressing this issue. But it is the feds that need to solve this problem. The Executive Branch must secure the border in Texas immediately and Congress needs to stop the political ideology on this grave issue and come up with a fair and just comprehensive solution to promote "liberty and justice for all."