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Hundreds of protesters descended on the plaza outside federal government offices downtown on Wednesday evening, July 9, as part of a nationwide day of action in support of a stream of Central American children and mothers illegally crossing into the United States.

"We're here to provide a loving response to the actions others have taken against these children," said Birdie Gutierrez, one of the event's organizers.

Several demonstrators stood nearby, holding signs encouraging the government to "Welcome the Children" and provide "Liberty and Justice for All." Others waved American flags. A group of Native American dancers held court on a pedestal, with a small pot burning sage and the traditional dances providing an "offering of love to children."

"The vitriol, the racism we've experienced, that's unacceptable," Gutierrez said, describing her recent experience at an Escondido City Council meeting where locals vociferously opposed a plan to convert a former medical facility into temporary housing where juvenile detainees would await processing. In Murrieta, a crowd of protesters last week prevented a bus carrying women and children from accessing a Border Patrol facility there.

Various speakers argued on the immigrants' behalf, blaming trade policy such as NAFTA and the U.S. "War on Drugs" for creating conditions of widespread violence and poverty that are driving the current mass migration.

"Many of these children came here because they've already lost their homes, their families. There's nothing to send them back to. And everyone deserves a safe, secure childhood," Gutierrez concluded.

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Comments

jnojr July 10, 2014 @ 12:29 p.m.

Give them love and compassion by sending them home to their families and the culture they know and the taxpayers who are responsible for them.

But they don't want "love". They want our cash. They want free housing, free medical care, free food. I'd say free education, too, but far too many Mexican / central American illegal aliens don't care about an education. Their parents like free babysitting, and the kids like getting into gangs and drugs and starting their own little brood at 14.

A nation cannot become great by importing poverty, and that's exactly what this is about... bringing in millions who will depend on government for everything and will vote accordingly.

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shirleyberan July 12, 2014 @ 4:50 p.m.

Your government's past leadership created this. Why blame kids in crisis?

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shirleyberan July 13, 2014 @ 12:55 p.m.

El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala are in mass gang drug wars. If your neighbor was in a domestic violence situation and needed temporary shelter from a murderer, you might help her.

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