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Immigration Battle Comes To Victorville After Buses Filled With Undocumented Workers Dropped Off At Prison

VICTORVILLE (CBSLA)  -- The debate on immigration came to Victorville on Friday night when buses filled with undocumented workers were dropped off at a federal prison.

KCAL9's Tina Patel reported that buses from Homeland Security were seen at the federal prison early Friday morning.

It is believed they dropped off more than 200 immigration detainees with as many as 800 more expected through the weekend.

Immigrants rights activists say the federal government has been secretive about where the detainees are from.

"We don't know who's there, is it folks they got at the border? Is it people they're transferring from other detention centers? Are there mothers, are there children there as well, we don't know these answers," says Javier Hernandez with the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

The group also doesn't believe claims from ICE that the use of the prison, and others across the country, are only temporary measures to help with the surge of illegal border crossings.

"It's really difficult for us to believe somehow they're going to find other beds, somehow they're going to build detention centers to hold these folks," says Hernandez.

Activists aren't the only ones with questions about the plan to house detainees in prisons, a plan announced only days ago.

The union that represents employees at the prison have raised concerns about the short notice they were given regarding the arrival of the detainees, and the staffing needed to accommodate such an influx.

Prison workers say there was already a staffing shortage, and there has been no information about the possible medical needs of the detainees.

Activists say some of the detainees have come with their families seeking asylum from their countries, and they deserve to be treated better.

"What we see here once again is further criminalization and dehumanization of immigrants that are coming to this country from the administration," Hernandez said.

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