Dallas County officials talk with neighbors about housing immigr - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Dallas County officials talk with neighbors about housing immigrant children

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DALLAS COUNTY, Texas - The border crisis is making news from coast to coast, from the nation’s capital to Dallas County.  This week, several members of congress are set to tour an immigration shelter in San Antonio.  President Obama will also visit Texas this week, but is not making a stop at the border. 

Here in Dallas County, officials are preparing to house nearly 2,000 immigrant children later this month.  Sunday, Judge Clay Jenkins and Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Tony Shotwell went door-to-door talking with neighbors around one of the potential shelters. 

Three possible shelter locations include: the old Lamar Alternative Education Center in Grand Prairie, the now vacant Hulcy Middle School in Dallas, and an empty building at Parkland Hospital. 

“But we want kids to be safe and well taken care of, because they’re obviously scared and away from their families.”  Vanessa George was born and raised in this Grand Prairie neighborhood and so was her mother.  Their home is just across the street from where Dallas County plans to house hundreds of Central American immigrant children. 

“We had exactly zero in the walk that the judge and I did that were totally against it.”  Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem and longtime city councilman of this district, Tony Shotwell says he was initially concerned about turning the Lamar Alternative Education Center into a temporary children’s holding facility.  “Mainly the reason I feel about it is I’m not idealogically involved in this one way or the other, I work for the people in the neighborhood and I want them to know what’s going on.” 

“You want to have those one-on-one conversations and it’s really more of a listening tour, to give them information but also to hear their concerns and their feedback and knew how to contact me directly,” says Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.  He and Shotwell went door-to-door, meeting personally with residents around the school. 

Mother of four, Maria Garcia, like others in this community, is concerned for the children.  “I just want to help, and I want to see how they look and just with my heart look at how they look and having nobody to love them.” 

“My biggest concern is protestors that you know, may want to come and cause problems,” says George.   

“You’re not going to make everybody happy about everything,” says Judge Jenkins.  “But we’re moving forward as quickly as we can to take these children from incarceration on the border to compassionate care here in Dallas County.”

Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Shotwell says, “we’re not jumping for joy and jumping through hoops to get it, and we’re not going to say ‘hell no, we don’t want this here.’  We want to know what it is and we’ll make our decisions then and as it looks right now that neighborhood  is pretty much ok with it.”

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