Local man faces backlash after taking in migrants - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local man faces backlash after taking in migrants

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It was just last month that Southern California was at the center of the immigration debate. 

You might remember the protests in Murietta as buses full of migrants came to the city. 

Well, one San Diego man saw that and wanted to help. But he and his family soon found out just how divisive this issue is.

On the south side of town, you'll find a heated political debate surrounding Poppa's Fresh Fish Company.

It all started a month ago when owner Mark Lane was watching coverage of the Murrieta immigration protests.

"My 5-year-old happened to be sitting on my lap and he asked me at some point why are the people mad at the busses,” Lane said. “It just triggered something in me, made me angry, we're in 2014 and I gotta explain to a kid who doesn’t understand that they're actually mad at the people inside the busses."

That spurred him to make a "Boycott Murrieta" Facebook page with several others.

"One of the things that really upset me was the dehumanization of these people,” Lane said. “That they're lice ridden, vermin, latino filth...just dehumanization of people."

Mark says his heart went out to those people, so much so, he took in a family from Guatemala while their request for political asylum is processed. He started blogging about the mother and her three kids anonymously until someone found out who he was.

"I went to bed on the 28th with a normal life and woke up on the 29th with my life completely and forever changed," Lane said.

What came next was a flood of hate in the form of phone calls and Facebook posts.

"'I'm gonna kill ya, I'm gonna kill your family. You're a race traitor, race baiter, traitor to the country.' One guy posted I should be severely beaten in front of my customers," Lane said.

And soon calls came for a boycott of his business.

"If people wanna boycott, just like I put up the boycott Murrieta page with my friends, if they wanna boycott my business, it's their First Amendment right. I've got no issue with that," Lane said.

But as the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. Saturday, we saw a steady stream of customers, many who've seen his story.

"Whatever their goal was - it's backfired. Most of the week we were at double the business and now we're at triple the business," he said.

Mark says he never wanted to be one of the faces of this debate, just lend a helping hand. That said, he's accepted things won’t ever be the same and he's okay with that.

“They backed me up against a wall. They tried to make me stand down. I'm not gonna stand down,” he said.

Mark has received a lot of donations. He says he plans to make a foundation to help people who house migrants.

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