Murrieta’s Budget Takes a Hit in the Wake of Immigration Protest

As many might be aware, the city of Murrieta has been the center of the ongoing debate surrounding California’s undocumented immigrants. Earlier this month, a large protest in the city forced three buses carrying approximately 140 detained immigrants to reroute to elsewhere in the state for processing.

Originally, these Central American immigrants were being held in Texas, but facilities in the state are so overwhelmed, detainees are being sent to other states in order to be processed.

Murrieta Mayor Alan Long says that in the wake of the protest and the massive press coverage, officials estimate they have handed out $50,000 in overtime pay to city workers. Employees have worked extra in the past couple of weeks to keep residents informed and to keep protests and demonstrations under control.

The city has also been racking up a hefty bill increasing its police force’s active patrol to 25 officers as opposed to its normal amount of 8. Several officers also added six more hours to their usual workdays, meaning many worked 18-hour shifts.  

Long has been quoted before saying that once the controversy blows over, he may send the White House a bill for all the amount the city ends up spending. Though he clarified he was joking about the comment, he said he still may send the bill “just to send it,” though he doesn’t anticipate actually receiving money in return.

Long explained that in a situation such as this that requires extra attention from city officials, the city will either take a hit in terms of efficiency or in terms of money. 

The financial hit the city has taken is nothing compared to the damages done to its image. The small, residential Riverside County city of 106,000 has been making headlines for weeks now, many painting the area in a negative light. Long said he especially regretted the footage that surfaced of a protester spitting on an opposing protester. 

Since the buses were blocked, arrivals of Central American immigrants that were to be brought to the city every 72 hours throughout the month of July have instead been rerouted to San Ysidro. 

Read more about the city’s budget here.