Continuing coverage of the crisis on the Texas border and the surge of unaccompanied minors

Emotions Run High at Dallas County Meeting on Border Crisis

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Emotions ran high at a Dallas County Commissioners meeting Tuesday as residents for and against housing migrant children Dallas County let their feelings be known. (Published Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014)

    More than a dozen people were slated to voice their opinions Tuesday on a plan to bring 2,000 children from the Texas-Mexico border to North Texas, but after three hours of waiting, some didn’t show when their names were called at the Dallas County Commission.

    Nearly ten people told the commissioners they were either for or against the plan to bring the immigrants to Dallas County for housing and care.

    “To tell these children that no one cares, and you must go home without due process, that’s not only immoral, un-Godly, unkind, un-feeling, un-Texas, unforgivable – we will be judged,” Eulaine Hall said, “and Dallas has much to be proud of for taking a lead in this.”

    “Here and now, we must focus on the care of these children. They’re vulnerable, and they’re traumatized,” said Jan Sanders, wife of the late U.S. District Judge Sanders.

    Sanders went on to say this is how she wants our tax dollars used.

    “Taxes help build the kind of society we want to live in. Taxes, overall, are relatively low,” she said. “I can’t think of a better use of our taxes, whether it be local, state or federal, than to respond to a humanitarian crisis.”

    Others, though, feel differently. Eric Williams, candidate for Congress in District 30, says he does not want a portion of the children housed in Oak Cliff.

    “Citizens cannot be forced into allowing undocumented kids from Central America to be housed in my blighted community," Williams said. “These kids must be provided the best and safety care needed in response to this humanitarian crisis along the Texas-Mexico border. Why are we not considering sending them to Highland Park vs. Oak Cliff?”

    Williams went on to say, “District 30 is a majority minority district with a high concentration of poverty, no jobs, homelessness and hopelessness. Why here?”

    Some who stood before the commission questioned Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ decision to act quickly without consenting the public or his peers on the commission.

    “What I see is the sleeping giant is awakening. Liberty and blind justice have opened their eyes in Texas,” Susan Mardozza said. “Bringing illegals to Texas doesn’t come under the duties of county commissioner. I implore you: do not perpetuate this government-made crisis. Do not let Dallas go down in history as an accessory to the great crime against America. Restrain Dallas government.”

    “I’m a little bit disappointed that, unless I’m wrong, that you just grabbed the bull by the horn and started to do what you wanted to do with this without any sort of public input or without any conversations with the rest of the commissioners,” Ralph Goin said. “Where did you have the power to do that?”

    Jenkins didn’t respond to the question but later offered members of the media this explanation.

    “These children need help now. And, you know, I didn’t feel like I could wait to take a poll about helping children. When it comes to helping children, what I would expect from our leaders is that they would lead and that’s what I intend to do and I am doing,” Jenkins said.

    Jenkins said he still expects at least a portion of the children to be in North Texas by the end of July. Three facilities are under consideration by the federal government, including Hulcy Middle School in Oak Cliff, Lamar AEP in Grand Prairie and a building owned by Parkland Hospital on Butler Street in Dallas.

    County Commissioner Mike Cantrell today questioned Jenkins' motives and demanded a plan. Cantrell said this isn’t something that can be done in two or three weeks, but rather six months.

    Cantrell went on to say the initial 120 days Jenkins says the children will be in Dallas Co. facilities could wind up being much longer.