Murrieta is latest immigration flashpoint; another protest planned for Independence Day

Protesters turn back three buses carrying 140 immigrants as they attempt to enter the Murrieta U.S. Border Patrol station for processing on July 1, 2014, in Murrieta, Calif.
Protesters turn back three buses carrying 140 immigrants as they attempt to enter the Murrieta U.S. Border Patrol station for processing on July 1, 2014, in Murrieta, Calif.
David Bauman (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise)

When American flag-waving protesters forced busloads of immigrants to leave Murrieta this week, the Southern California city became the latest flashpoint in an intensifying immigration debate.

The mayor of the fast-growing community in the conservative-leaning Inland Empire region urged residents to speak out against the federal government's handling of thousands of Central American children and families flooding the Texas border.

A day later, protesters blocked the road to a Murrieta border patrol facility where a group of immigrants were taken to be processed.

Another demonstration is planned for Friday.

The reaction to the influx of immigrants fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras has been varied across the Southwest. In some communities, immigrant advocates have been collecting donations and trying to help immigrants reunite with family.