By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The council unanimously passed resolution number 2006-099, "imploring and urging" the federal government to "address citizens' concerns about the negative impact our porous borders are having on our national security and on the quality of life..." Mayor Phelps said they would send it to every city in the state and encourage them to do the same.
Leaving immigration policy to the feds wasn't enough to satisfy O'Hare's supporters. Robin Bernier told the mayor that if he didn't choose to support the citizens of Farmers Branch instead of the "illegal aliens...we will consider a recall for the position of mayor, and I'm serious."
O'Hare told media and supporters he was having the city attorney draft a measure that would pass constitutional muster. So far, though, no formal ordinance has been proposed. O'Hare's bid to slash funding for the Funshine Program, the summer camp he said is certain to serve children who are here illegally, was defeated in mid-September when the council voted to pass the budget that included money for the program.
To Carlos Quintanilla, a LULAC member who lives in Dallas, this means victory. "I think it's tabled," he said of O'Hare's proposals in early October.
O'Hare insisted that wasn't the case. "I already have enough support in the town of Farmers Branch to pass these measures," he told me over the phone in mid-October. It's unclear whether his proposals have enough support on the council, but it's expected to discuss potential ordinances at its November 13 meeting.
When O'Hare approached her after the September 5 council meeting, they had a brief conversation about faith. He wanted her to know that he'd been misquoted in the press; when he said immigrants live like kings and queens, he said, he was referring to people in Jamaica. They argued about property taxes. A group had formed around them, and as they spoke O'Hare kept taking steps back. At one point, Elizabeth said, "Your behavior isn't very Christlike." He replied that there's nothing "ungodly about upholding the law—this has nothing to do with Christianity."
For Elizabeth, though, it has everything to do with Christianity. "We've become country-club Christians," she says. "It's easy to help people in Africa or Honduras, but what about the people in our own neighborhoods? We have to walk the talk." She shook her head and recalled a man who suggested illegal immigrants leave their citizen children in the United States. "How can you think it's OK to separate families like that? They're not like mice or monkeys."
In her living room, Elizabeth keeps a shrine to St. Joseph with a 3-foot statuette and a velvet-covered prayer kneeler below. She prays for God to use her for something, for anything, "for whatever needs to be done."