County Commissioners Field Community Response to Undocumented Kids Plan

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

It's not every Tuesday that you see reporters from three Dallas TV stations live tweeting a Dallas County Commissioners' meeting, but that's just what happened today. Why the hubbub? This meeting was a de facto public hearing on County Judge Clay Jenkins' plan to house up to 2,000 undocumented minors in the coming months.

For the most part, those among the standing-room-only crowd who spoke agreed with Jenkins that providing aid to the kids was a matter of compassion rather than politics.

Eric Folkerth, the senior pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in North Dallas, echoed many of the speakers when he pledged that he and his congregation would do everything they could to help any incoming children.

Jan Sanders, the widow of former U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders and a member of Folkerth's church, told Jenkins and the commissioners that she couldn't think of a better way to spend tax dollars.

Other speakers weren't so sure. Eric Williams, an independent running against Eddie Bernice Johnson for her District 30 U.S. House seat, asked Jenkins to consider the needs of kids already in Dallas.

"Why house kids in my blighted community?" he asked.

Still, Williams, along with a few other voices of dissent, were in the minority at this meeting at least. Apprehension over how to help the kids, or how to pay for it, was overcome by the clear desire to do something, anything for a group many of the speakers referred to as "refugees."

After the meeting Mike Cantrell -- the lone Republican commissioner -- told a reporter from WFAA that Jenkins was making a federal problem a Dallas County problem. He wants to see Jenkins plan in writing, he said.

When asked about his potentially attending a Wednesday meeting intended to address the crisis with President Obama, Jenkins deferred all questions to the White House.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.