A day with Clay: Judge Jenkins sells his plan to shelter border kids

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 16 at 7:38 PM

Two weeks ago, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins toured the Rio Grande Valley and witnessed the immigration crisis first hand.

A week ago, he met with President Obama about bringing aid to the children... and welcoming some of those children to temporary shelters in North Texas.

Tuesday was finally a vacation day for Jenkins, but there was no time to rest.

Since announcing his plan to bring 2,000 undocumented immigrant children to Dallas County, Jenkins' life has become hectic, including trips to the Rio Grande Valley to witness the problem; he's met with the president and become the self-imposed leader of a spiritual movement to serve children whose lives have been turned upside-down.

"I realized that a failure to act on our part... if I didn't empower you to act in this situation... it would be solely because of a lack of will on my part," he said. "So at that moment, I said that we had to do something for these children."

On Tuesday, doing something met meeting with 100 faith leaders across North Texas hoping to help with solutions.

It meant meeting with reporters eager to document his next move.

It also meant missing lunch while riding on fumes, racing to a meeting with federal and local officials in Grand Prairie.

But while driving down compassion road, Jenkins said he has hit several political potholes... people who say they are upset with his sympathizing with foreigners flooding the U.S. border.

"I deal with that every 15 minutes of every day that I'm awake," he said.

Others suggest he is merely milking the moment for political gain. Jenkins' response?

"Well, if this is political then I'm the stupidest politician in America, right?"

And in a few days, Jenkins plans to drive into directly into the eye of the storm: Murrieta, California, the scene of last week's immigrant blockade, hoping to bring attention to humanitarian efforts in that town that are also underway.

And he won't even get paid. He'll still be on vacation.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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