Dallas commissioners hear minimal opposition to immigrant shelter plan



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Posted on July 8, 2014 at 5:30 PM

DALLAS — WFAA viewers have shared thousands of Facebook comments with us about Dallas County's plan to shelter hundreds of immigrant children. Some people are in favor of the program; many more are against it.

But there’s only one group who can take your two cents and do something about it — Dallas County Commissioners Court.

Democratic County Judge Clay Jenkins is spearheading the relief effort, and at Tuesday’s meeting, he welcomed reaction.

But there wasn’t much.

Of the 14 people who signed up to speak on the issue, only nine showed up.

“Dallas has much to be proud of for taking the lead in this, and thank you, Judge Jenkins; thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Eulaine Hall of Dallas.

Only two people spoke against the shelter plan.

“You just took the bull by the horns and started to do what you wanted to do with this without any kind of public input or without any conversations with the rest of the commissioners,” said Ralph Goin of Dallas.

So why didn’t we hear from more people who are concerned about housing these children? For one thing, it’s a meeting on a weekday morning. It also started at 9 a.m., and the floor didn’t open to the public until three hours and eight minutes later.

It’s a lot easier to type up a Facebook post.

Still, Republican Commissioner Mike Cantrell called on the county judge to hear from more of you.

“They need to be out in the community, at night, and you need to advertise them and people need to be able to come in and tell him, tell the judge what they think about having this in Dallas County,” Cantrell said.

It would still be up to you to show up and be heard.

No word on whether there will be any more public meetings on the issue, although there could be another after the county announces which of three proposed locations will serve as a shelter.

Judge Jenkins said the government is still touring the buildings, but they could make a decision by the end of the week.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com