Pinal County Sherriff Paul Babeu, left, talks to protesters in Oracle, Ariz. / Nick Oza, The Republic
PHOENIX -- Some were there to jeer at the migrant children from Central America who they were told were being bused Tuesday to Oracle in Pinal County, Ariz.
Some were there to cheer.
But the children never showed up. And federal officials say they have no knowledge that the kids were ever intended to be there.
Two news releases issued Monday stoked all the commotion.
Sycamore Canyon Academy said it received an urgent request from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement "to provide safe and temporary care to a small number of ... youth from Central and South America."
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said "whistle-blowers" within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed that migrant children caught crossing the U.S. border were being bused to Sycamore Canyon Academy.
A federal official told The Arizona Republic there was no notification that any immigrant children were scheduled to arrive at the detention centers. Two congressional sources confirmed that they had no knowledge of any kids being sent to Oracle. None of the officials would speak for attribution.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's spokesman, Tim Gaffney, responded by sending a copy of the Sycamore Canyon press release. Sycamore Canyon program director Carl "Ike" Shipman could not be reached for comment.
Babeu and his deputies spent the day shuttling between about 150 protesters and supporters. He also held impromptu press conferences and was interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Protesters and supporters began gathering early Tuesday, with some anticipating a confrontation similar to the one in Murrieta, Calif., earlier this month.
A flier posted by Babeu supporter Robert Skiba in the Oracle Post Office promised "to do whatever is necessary from preventing these illegals from entering our community."
But for the most part, the two groups stayed separated by several miles. Early in the day, protesters briefly blocked the highway, but moved.
A few supporters did venture toward the protesters, who responded by shouting, "Commies!"
The Associated Press reported that members of a mariachi band were shoved when they began playing near the protesters. There were no injuries.
And there was nothing like the heated confrontations in Murrieta, where six people were arrested and protesters in Murrieta succeeded in blocking a bus carrying immigrant families to a Border Patrol facility there.
"Children shouldn't see this country as all people who hate," Julie Szekely, 69, said as her reason for approaching the protesters Tuesday in Oracle.
Dolly Pettet, 67, joined the opposition protest after attending a town hall meeting held by Republican gubernatorial hopeful Christine Jones and hearing Babeu speak about violence on the border.
"I don't want to sit on the couch and not do something about it," Pettet said. "I think we should secure our borders by any means."
Pettet said her grandson just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
"We are not going to honor those who have lost their lives by just turning our heads."
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Read the original story: Buses with migrant kids a no-show in Ariz.