Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is blaming Republicans for a California protest that blocked the transfer of child immigrants who had crossed the border illegally.

Protesters earlier this week prevented busloads of immigrants who recently crossed the border — mostly children and parents — to be transferred from the Texas border to the town of Murrieta, Calif.

Grijalva said Republicans were using illegal immigration as “canon fodder” for their base.


"And you saw the tip of the iceberg in California and if we allow carve-outs, if we allow to continue to fall backwards on this issue and not do anything, then what we saw in California is going to be replicated along the border," he said on MSNBC.

"And the more time the Republican majority and the Republicans in Congress continue to use this issue as a political wedge or canon fodder for their base, the more that social divisiveness, that rip in the social fabric becomes more of a reality."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handled the transfer, citing safety concerns, would not say if the Murrieta facility still would be used to house the immigrants.

They are expected to be processed before being released to family members throughout the country to await their deportation proceedings. 

It's not clear if Grijalva is right about the protests spreading. Farther south in California, in the town of El Centro, a similar transfer went off without incident, according to USA Today

Grijalva said the laws governing the process for the detention and temporary release should not be changed amid the recent influx. 

"No, we shouldn’t," he said. "I mean that law was there for the purpose, the circumstances that had created that law are worse now then they were then." 

The surge of migrants has mostly originated from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras amid high crime and misperception about U.S. immigration policy. Grijalva said the U.S. should increase resources to those countries. 

"What we need to do is invest in those nations, to build them up," he said. 

Other lawmakers have proposed halting foreign aid to the countries until the crisis is contained.