Protesters and supporters converged on an Arizona mountain town Tuesday morning in anticipation of the arrival of dozens of undocumented immigrant children who were expected to come by the busload later in the day, in a scene reminiscent of clashes in Murrieta, California, earlier this month. According to a local sheriff, who cited two "whistleblowers" at the Department of Homeland Security, 40 to 60 kids were anticipated at Sycamore Canyon Academy, a boys camp in Oracle, near Tucson.
However, Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat from Tucson, said Tuesday that his office received a message from the Department of Health and Human Services stating that the buses weren't coming Tuesday. By midafternoon, most of the protesters had left.
"My belief is that these unaccompanied juveniles should be put on planes and returned to their country of origin and reunited with their families."Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told crowds gathered in Oracle, who had started to dwindle by Tuesday afternoon. The activists stood in separate areas, holding signs for and against welcoming the undocumented immigrants. "Bienvenidos," "Hola," read some of the supporters' signs, while protesters' signs said, "Stop dumping your illegals here." Sycamore Canyon Academy's executive director said on Monday the facility is not taking a position on the immigration debate.
— Bob A. Richardson and Elizabeth Chuck
NBC News' Alex M. Johnson contributed to this report.
First published July 15 2014, 8:55 AM