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Border & Immigration

Report: Murrieta Immigrant Protest Example Of Collusion

Protesters in Murrieta block the path of a charter bus containing migrants who entered the country illegally, July 1, 2014.
Jill Replogle
Protesters in Murrieta block the path of a charter bus containing migrants who entered the country illegally, July 1, 2014.

Report: Murrieta Immigrant Protest Example Of Collusion
The report by the Center for New Community was issued on the eve of the anniversary of anti-immigrant protests in Murrieta.

On July 1, 2014, protesters blocked busloads of migrants from reaching an immigration facility in Murrieta, nearly 70 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Almost a year later, a new report says sources in the border patrol leaked information about the buses to protest organizers.

The Center for New Community report released Tuesday said the Murrieta protest was just one example of collusion between some members of the border patrol and other immigration agencies, and "extreme anti-immigration leaders."

The report says the goal is "to inject negative biases into the broader immigration debate." It also accused leaders of the border patrol union of using the same rhetoric as groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The report describes FAIR as “a hate group.”

One of the union leaders mentioned in the report is Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council. He denies any collusion.

“Just because an idea lines up with another group, especially the idea that there should not be rewards for breaking the law, that doesn’t signify collusion, that just signifies some groups, some individuals think alike,” Moran said.

Moran said he disagrees with the idea that the groups have racist or extremist ideologies.

“In my interactions with the Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR, they have always been very professional in their viewpoints and in their arguments,” he said.

The report also said border agents collaborated with anti-immigrant groups on border tours. Pedro Rios, director of the U.S.-Mexico Border Program for the American Friends Service Committee, said the claims in the report align with his experience along the border.

He said he has long suspected collusion between immigration authorities and anti-immigration groups because of his observations when taking people on tours of the border. Immigrant rights groups like his would be turned away in places where anti-immigrant groups would be received with open arms, he said.

“Oftentimes we would see the San Diego Minutemen or other vigilante groups that would have much more access to the areas that were supposedly enforcement areas and where Border Patrol would prevent our access,” Rios said.

Neither the Border Patrol nor U.S. Customs and Border Protection have commented on the Center for New Community report.